Sunday, February 10, 2008

Call Immigration!

Published February 10, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

We’re hearing much these days about the problem of illegal immigration. The oft used and abused justification for such is the belief that illegal immigrants are here doing the jobs “Americans won’t do” and thereby represent a vast and crucial part of the framework of our economy. Opponents of this way of thinking purport that Americans would do these jobs if they weren’t priced out of the industry by cheap, illegal labor and that illegal immigrants need to be found and deported.

I found one.

Using the straightforward criterion of a job most Americans wouldn’t want to do, I set out in search of illegal immigrants and found one on my first try. This person, whether from Mexico, El Salvador, or Sweden, can be seen standing near the corner of Sunset and Dixie Downs Road, waving at passers-by and encouraging them to come into a local business. He or she is easy to spot. The chicken costume is kind of hard to miss.

What? You don’t think this chicken suited person is an illegal alien? As a natural born American in the Caucasian, 18-34, and “soccer” (actually, it’s karate) mom demographics, I believe I constitute a typical American citizen, and I can tell you with a certainty that I would never, ever do that job.

What you need to know about me is that there aren’t many jobs I wouldn’t do. I would readily work in a restaurant washing dishes. I would have no problem cleaning hotel rooms. I would even dig ditches and pick produce and build houses if it meant providing for my family. As a mentor to troubled teens, I actually have a job most people tell me they wouldn’t do. But I would not dress up as a chicken and stand on the street and wave, no matter how much the job paid.

I guess I have to give the chicken person credit for doing the job during our mild winter. On the basis of that fact alone, I’m willing to concede that the chicken in question is a legal citizen of the U.S. Nothing beats the chill in the air like being covered from head to toe in plush fabric and dancing around like a maniac. I have, however, seen this very same chicken costume in the middle of a blistering St. George summer. There is no way you can get me to believe that’s an American. I’m having a hard time believing it’s a human.

There must be some segment of the population who once donned chicken (or hot dog or statue of liberty) costumes of their own reading this and wanting to defend the job as not only legitimate but enjoyable, as well. Herein lies our problem. For every political hack claiming illegals are doing work we Americans won’t do, there have to be a large number of Americans saying, “Hey, wait a minute! I would do that job! I want to do that job! How do I get that job?”

For all I know, the person in the chicken suit is very happy with the job. Maybe he’s gone through life lamenting his “chicken trapped in a man’s body” existence and has now been given the chance to break out. Maybe this person is finally free to be who he really is and is, as I write this, organizing chicken pride rallies and painting protest placards that say, “Cluck shall overcome.” It could happen.

Strange digression aside, it’s become obvious to me that for every job one American wouldn’t do, there is at least one more who would. It’s also clear that the powers that be will continue to debate the illegal alien issue without actually doing anything about it. If they do begin a manhunt, checking out the employees in so-called undesirable jobs may or may not yield results. There’s no accounting for chickens, of course.

If they do search for people in crappy jobs, I’d start with Britney Spears’ publicist.