Brent Batten: Unknown restaurateur defends illegal immigration

BRENT BATTEN

Anonymous correspondence usually carries about the same weight with me as the ink used in the signature at the bottom.

But I received an unsigned letter the other day that is worth sharing.

It is in response to my May 12 column that basically said the state should crack down on employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers as a way to reduce illegal immigration.

The letter, from someone purporting to be a successful restaurateur in Collier County for the past 16 years, is telling, not just in what it says about the role of migrant workers in our economy but in what it says about American society in general.

It begins, “I feel your column on illegal immigration has it wrong... Without these immigrants, the service, hospitality and construction industries in Florida would not be able to deliver.

“I would never trade my Spanish help for what the American labor market has to offer. I know from experience that if I want dependable, loyal, hard-working honest and long-term employees, I go Spanish. If I hire Americans I get drug and alcohol abuse issues, high absenteeism, high employee turnover, attitude problems and mediocre motivations.”

It goes on to describe the landscape, construction and hospitality workers we all see in Southwest Florida as we go about our business.

“How many of these people have papers? Practically none. Do you think business owners and government contractors know this? Of course they do.

“The bandwagon says we unscrupulous business owners hire these folks for cheap labor, exploiting them out of greed. Maybe some of that is true, but not much. They earn a competitive wage because they are such good workers and are in high demand. They’ll quit and go elsewhere if you don’t pay them well. My Latin cooks earn as much as an average schoolteacher.

“The employers want quality, and the illegals deliver!”

The writer argues, without citing statistics, that undocumented workers are a boon to the economy and require little in the way of government social service spending. There are studies that show illegal immigrants are a net drain on the economy and others that suggest the opposite. In Collier County, the reality is there are schools where children of undocumented parents attend in such numbers as to prevent the school from scheduling events during the day, since parents can’t attend an event during the school day without proper identification. About 22 percent of the county’s jail budget is spent housing illegal immigrants incarcerated for some other crime.

The anonymous author claims illegal immigration is a phony crisis drummed up by the George W. Bush administration to divert attention from the war in Iraq, even though I remember vigorous debate about, and not much action, on illegal immigration during the Reagan and Clinton administrations.

The letter makes a point most of us can probably agree on. “Our federal government should long ago have recognized their importance to our economy, established a work permit program and thusly regulated their numbers.”

Unfortunately, the government didn’t.

They are here today in numbers that demand our attention.

The anonymous restaurateur pleads, “Please don’t take away our illegals, give them a chance to be legal.” The letter concludes, “Sorry, I cannot give my name out of fear my business would be ruined.”

Connect with Brent Batten at naplesnews.com/staff/brent_batten

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 35

john_re44 writes:

Screw that!!! Let them become legal before they are hired. You act so noble for hiring them. I'm sure the fact that you don't have to pay any taxes for these illegals that you hire has never entered your mind. Send them back until they become legal taxpaying members of society..

RayPray writes:

“If I hire Americans I get drug and alcohol abuse issues, high absenteeism, high employee turnover, attitude problems and mediocre motivations.”

Sadly, I found this to be true, here and up North, and have always sought out immigrants when I need a job done.

Up North I was able to hire highly motivated Russians & East Europeans, besides varieties of Latin Americans.

Native born Americans always showed up with more attitude than aptitude....

They strutted around with their tattoos, gold earrings & cigarettes like they were doing me some big favor just showing up.

u2cane writes:

The problem is not only do they not pay their full fair share of taxes (they do pay sales tax on anything they buy here, but that is about it), but they receive benefits from tax dollars, send a good portion of money back home, and they take jobs away from hard working Americans. This owner is right, he would lose business and he is wrong about the majority of the legal workforce. Not all Americans are lazy, in fact many of the illegals and even legal "spanish" help has become lazy and brings in the same problems that he descibes as Americans having. Would be nice to know what business owner this is so all the legal citizens can boycott. If the illegals are so good for him, let them support his business.

Stilllaughing writes:

"My Latin cooks earn as much as an average schoolteacher.
" Yes, because these parasites don't pay taxes but have no problem taking advantage of our system which hard working American Citizens pay for. If you want to pledge allegiance to the United States, learn our national language - English and become a tax paying naturalized citizen.
Welcome to America. Now follow the law, and get in line like all of our ancestors did.
This unknown restaurateur is why we have this problem. No matter what he spews, the fact is that HE is breaking the law and should be fined and/or shut down. Just look for a 16 year old restaurant with an all illegal kitchen and you've found this traitor

RayPray writes:

"you've found this traitor"

>>> Bloggers here seem to be expert sniffers on the capital crime of treason, punishable by DEATH!

>>> Sure glad you take charge of your own lawn and pool and fix any roof leaks, so nobody will be standing you before the Marco Firing Squad....

naples_rocket writes:

they are this, they are that, they do this, they do that. Blah blah blah.
Is there anything we could possibly do about this besides ranting on the online blogs? I don't think so.
We all know what goes on and what consequences it has. Government's policy on this issue is completely opposite of what majority of the Americans want. But what can we possibly do? This has been going on for so long, people have been frustrated for so long, but nothing changes. Look at our dear Connie Mack. Illegal alien advocate. How can you possibly expect any change?
And all this "lazy and drug addicted American workers" is just BS. I know so many young Americans who used to come and work in Marco restaurants, hotels and country clubs before those places started hiring "internationally". They are neither lazy nor drug addicted and would die to have an opportunity to came back again to Marco for the winter and work here. As long as our borders are open and immigration is left for the free market forces, this will only get worse.

RayPray writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

they are this, they are that, they do this, they do that. Blah blah blah.
Is there anything we could possibly do about this besides ranting on the online blogs? I don't think so.
We all know what goes on and what consequences it has. Government's policy on this issue is completely opposite of what majority of the Americans want. But what can we possibly do? This has been going on for so long, people have been frustrated for so long, but nothing changes. Look at our dear Connie Mack. Illegal alien advocate. How can you possibly expect any change?
And all this "lazy and drug addicted American workers" is just BS. I know so many young Americans who used to come and work in Marco restaurants, hotels and country clubs before those places started hiring "internationally". They are neither lazy nor drug addicted and would die to have an opportunity to came back again to Marco for the winter and work here. As long as our borders are open and immigration is left for the free market forces, this will only get worse.

"As long as our borders are open and immigration is left for the free market forces, this will only get worse."

>>> Before the invidious Johnson–Reed Act of 1924, the US had open borders with the world, except for racist anti-Asian exclusion acts.

>>> At the same time we had nearly double the GNP growth rate as in recent decades.

>>> In fact, many free market economist believe it was the implementation of this Johnson–Reed Act along with Smoot-Hawley Tariffs of the same period that turned the Recession of 1929 into our Great Depression of the 1930s.

>>> Immigrants are self-selecting for enterprise and energy, always an asset.

>>> What the US needs today is totally open borders combined with ZERO welfare state.

>>> We should welcome enterprising foreigners to relocate here, while encouraging those of our dear tax-eating welfare and loafer class to relocate to Canada or Sweden....

naples_rocket writes:

RayPray,

comparing today's immigrants (from South) and those of prior-1924 from Europe is absurd.
I do not really care who comes and from where as long as I don't have to pay for it. Unfortunately, I do. ZERO welfare state... Please. This will never happen. Needy won't be denied just because they do not speak English or have "papers". That just wont happen!!!

RayPray writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"to put more money in his pocket."

"to keep more shekels in your pocket."

>>> Wake up! America was founded on free enterprise principals, despite your efforts with your pals pals Pelosi, Reed, & Rangel to turn this into a jail of Socialism.

"Obviously greed is your motivator!"

>>> You lifted that right from your cynosure Obama's last speech to boost taxes on those who actually work in this country, so as to enrich you and your welfare loafer friends.

>>> So glad to hear to take care of your own pool, lawn, and home repairs yourself! Ha! Ha!

RayPray writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

RayPray,

comparing today's immigrants (from South) and those of prior-1924 from Europe is absurd.
I do not really care who comes and from where as long as I don't have to pay for it. Unfortunately, I do. ZERO welfare state... Please. This will never happen. Needy won't be denied just because they do not speak English or have "papers". That just wont happen!!!

"comparing today's immigrants (from South) and those of prior-1924 from Europe is absurd."

Most of those pouring in from East & South Europe before 1925 had no education. Read some of the nasty contemporary analysis of them by, say, Teddy Roosevelt.

Many immigrants today from East Europe, and Asia have solid education, even though having to do menial jobs until establishing themselves. I knew cab drivers in NY who has PhDs from various Russian Universities.

"ZERO welfare state... Please. This will never happen."

>>> Many young people today are open to such Libertarian ideas. Ron Paul & Gary Johnson have gone from sideshows to being genuine possibilities....

>>> It's clear this country has gone off track with the Bush-Obama regime.

>>> China is predicted to surpass the US by 2016 in GNP. When this happens, it will have profound impact of reassessment on young people....

u2cane writes:

in response to RayPray:

"you've found this traitor"

>>> Bloggers here seem to be expert sniffers on the capital crime of treason, punishable by DEATH!

>>> Sure glad you take charge of your own lawn and pool and fix any roof leaks, so nobody will be standing you before the Marco Firing Squad....

Actually, I do take care of this stuff like a normal man would. Why hire someone for something that I can do myself and make sure its done right?

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Americans aren't lazy you moron. We are handicapped by bleeding heart liberals (much like yourself) that are ruining our country more than any terrorist ever could.

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You can't own property in Mexico, so how is that going to help if you move to Mexico?

RayPray writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"I am a Republican and did not vote..."

How then can you explain your name listed as top 2010 fundraiser for Pelosi, funneling tens of thousands $$$ into her socialize America campaign?:

http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/

And how explain that in 2008, you are listed as ChairPoison for the Collier Senile Citizens for Obama, here:

http://www.collierdems.org/gallery/ga...

Amnesia????????????

RayPray writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Everyone now understands how you betrayed your guileless friends at the Yacht Club and debauched every moral principal -- all in some crazed mania to buy your way into an illicit orgy of Goldman-Sex with Nancy Pelosi and DSK!

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/polit...

After that, how do you live with yourself?

How can you even look at yourself in the mirror?

happy6 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ruger writes:

Well of course this guy wants Spanish help, they will use any excuse they can come up with for cheap labor. The rest of the political bloggers are fighting for their "democrat voter program" called amnesty.

Anyone who is supporting illegal aliens are supporting modern day slavery, because that is exactly what is happening. If you do not support the enforcement of our laws, then I don't want any part of YOUR America.

ChuckKiester writes:

I would appreciate it if one of you is aware of a factual study (not opinion) regarding the financial impact of undocumented workers and inform me of where I can access such. At this point all I know for sure is that without immigration this country would not be what it is today. Chuck Kiester

u2cane writes:

in response to ChuckKiester:

I would appreciate it if one of you is aware of a factual study (not opinion) regarding the financial impact of undocumented workers and inform me of where I can access such. At this point all I know for sure is that without immigration this country would not be what it is today. Chuck Kiester

Due to the nature of what you seek, facts might be hard to come by. Not only can authors skew a study in their favor, but in this case you are trying to get quantitative information on people who technically are breaking the law. Their cooperation and factual information will be impossible to get (as most of this is undocumented on purpose), only a reasonable estimate can expect to be made. I have seen in past newscasts that its estimated some $400 million gets sent back home to Mexico by illegals that work here. This was about a year ago on NBC nightly news. Again, this was an estimate. Immigration did build this country, and continues to, but a number of people did it legally instead of illegally. To me the biggest problem is the government's failure to address the situation and instead avoid it.

Ruger writes:

in response to ChuckKiester:

I would appreciate it if one of you is aware of a factual study (not opinion) regarding the financial impact of undocumented workers and inform me of where I can access such. At this point all I know for sure is that without immigration this country would not be what it is today. Chuck Kiester

The move to call an illegal alien "undocumented" shows the root intellectual dishonesty of the left in America.

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/8/...

Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to
enter) the United States at a time or place other than as
designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil
penalty of -
(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or
attempted entry); or
(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of
an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under
this subsection.
Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not
in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be
imposed.

marcoonmymind writes:

in response to u2cane:

Americans aren't lazy you moron. We are handicapped by bleeding heart liberals (much like yourself) that are ruining our country more than any terrorist ever could.

What a great point . . . Agree wholeheartedly!!!

marcoonmymind writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If he/she/it wasn't so scary, he/she/it would be quite comical.

liberator100 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It is amasing that you quote Jesse Jackson.
Another blowhard such as yourself that has never had a real job.
His babbleing comments remind us also of you, un-American.
Let me ask you a question, if Jesse is a real Rev. what church is he a reverend of?
Let me ask you another question Uwe, Are you an American citizen, or are you just another illegal yourself?

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"U.S. education Stinks"
I agree!
"is ranked second worst in the world"
I seriously doubt that.
" A good reason for a State of the Art high school on Marco"
Really!!! ....Really! That's the reason why we need a high school on Marco and it will fix what's wrong with the educational system of this counrty.
"I know cab drivers in NYC that have PHD's from Rusian Universities"
Probably phoney PHD's,.... OOOOOPS does that sound familiar!

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What does art have to do with this? mistake 100,001

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Take their jobs and be quit? mistake 100,002

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you get out of the house and stop looking in the mirror you won't see idiots anymore.

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yawn. Wake me when you have something meaningful to say.

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Keep drinking fool. Americans can be a resilient bunch and we won't let liberal losers like you knock us down for long. At least we have the problem of too many people wanting to come to our country. Germany on the other hand is begging people to immigrate there and is one of the countries actually losing population. But who would want to live there? Apparantly you didn't want to, lol. You wanted to live here.

bornintheusa writes:

What a load of CRAP! The GOP led FL legislature totally dropped the ball and it was intentional.

I work for a large grocery chain that everyone knows. I'm convinced approximately 15-25%, if not more, of their workforce is ILLEGAL WITH FAKE DOCUMENTS! One lady I work with doesn't speak ONE word of English (required for citizenship). Many cash their checks at the store and get cash or money orders to pay their bills, and my favorite, use Western Union to transfer money "back home." Sweet, isn't it -- while AMERICANS and LEGAL residents are suffering because of GREED! Illegals depress American workers wages and benefits!

Good luck trying to find a full time job with benefits with all the "cheap labor" available (illegals) that the taxpayer foots the bill for. So many of them come in with their SNAP (food stamps new friendly name, stands for "Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) cards to get their "free groceries." Illegals come in with WIC checks to buy their anchor babies food. Our good will is being abused, and far worse than that, THE PEOPLE WE ELECTED ARE ALLOWING IT TO HAPPEN!!! WAKE UP AND RESEARCH YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS VOTING RECORD ON IMMIGRATION. VOTE THEM OUT IF THEY CON'T CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGALS!

www(.)numbersusa(.)com Search: Immigration report card -- very telling. Ever wonder why liberals/Democrats push so hard for "a pathway to citizenship"? Those are future DEMOCRATIC voters -- those who just love their "free stuff" at the expense of those who actually work. Wake up America! Your country has been hijacked.

RayPray writes:

in response to bornintheusa:

What a load of CRAP! The GOP led FL legislature totally dropped the ball and it was intentional.

I work for a large grocery chain that everyone knows. I'm convinced approximately 15-25%, if not more, of their workforce is ILLEGAL WITH FAKE DOCUMENTS! One lady I work with doesn't speak ONE word of English (required for citizenship). Many cash their checks at the store and get cash or money orders to pay their bills, and my favorite, use Western Union to transfer money "back home." Sweet, isn't it -- while AMERICANS and LEGAL residents are suffering because of GREED! Illegals depress American workers wages and benefits!

Good luck trying to find a full time job with benefits with all the "cheap labor" available (illegals) that the taxpayer foots the bill for. So many of them come in with their SNAP (food stamps new friendly name, stands for "Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) cards to get their "free groceries." Illegals come in with WIC checks to buy their anchor babies food. Our good will is being abused, and far worse than that, THE PEOPLE WE ELECTED ARE ALLOWING IT TO HAPPEN!!! WAKE UP AND RESEARCH YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS VOTING RECORD ON IMMIGRATION. VOTE THEM OUT IF THEY CON'T CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGALS!

www(.)numbersusa(.)com Search: Immigration report card -- very telling. Ever wonder why liberals/Democrats push so hard for "a pathway to citizenship"? Those are future DEMOCRATIC voters -- those who just love their "free stuff" at the expense of those who actually work. Wake up America! Your country has been hijacked.

What a load of KRAP!

"One lady I work with doesn't speak ONE word of English (required for citizenship)."

No language in US required for citizenship. Cajuns, Indians, Aleuts are all citizens without any English.

What we need is more not less immigration.

Open borders is the policy that made America #1 in the world. That's what we had before 1925.

Open borders will discipline our born-here, dumb, lazy, dreaming of disability status red necks & pickup truck cowboys to stop eating, beating the woman and kissing the dog and maybe trying to do a bit of work.

RayPray writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"The man can only deploy his passion who can make no use of his mind."

---Cicero

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sure you have an IQ of 102, just look up in the dictionary what censure means and you will know I am being sarcastic.

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