The Fact About Immigrants the Right Ignores

They do the dirty work



Photo by Frantisek Duris on Unsplash

Have you stayed in a hotel room lately? Bought a head of lettuce? Ate in a nice restaurant? Enjoyed a round of golf on a perfectly groomed course? I’ve got news for you. All of these things are made possible by immigrants, many of whom are illegal.

It’s the open, dirty secret of our society. That head of romaine in your crisper drawer? A week ago an immigrant harvested it. From his or her hands to yours, directly. Two years ago I took a beautiful train ride down the California coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. It passed through the Central Valley growing region during harvest. Everywhere you looked in the fields there were figures bent over, working as fast as they could.

The night before I had stayed in a hotel in SF. I passed the women in the halls pushing carts full of bedding and cleaning supplies, gossiping in a foreign language. Downstairs in the restaurant kitchen, everyone speaks Spanish. The late Anthony Bourdain, in his first book Kitchen Confidential, noted that if you want to work in a restaurant kitchen in NYC, you need to learn Spanish.

Those kitchens in Manhattan are often in cramped basements beneath posh dining rooms. They are hot and the work is hard and relentless. So is the harvesting, the cleaning, the landscaping. And most of that hard work is done by immigrants.

Several years ago the state of Georgia passed a harsh law designed to keep migrant workers out of their state, driven by a Republican aversion to those unlike themselves. It was a disaster. Migrant workers that had harvested crops for years to send money to their families were scared off. Farmers hired buses to go into cities and recruit day labor. Most who tried it walked away on the first day.

Crops rotted in the fields.

Anti-immigration sentiment in this country has reached a hysterical level. These people don’t take American jobs. They take the jobs Americans don’t want to do, but we want to enjoy the fruits of that hard labor. Illegals cannot collect government benefits, nor can they vote. They are not stealing our lifestyle, nor are they the source of crime.

There is incredible cynicism at work here. Many of those who vote Republican…




Mastodon:, Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!