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Tue Jul 5, 2016, 02:18 AM


'I was a stranger and you welcomed me'

By Tony Magliano | Jul. 4, 2016

Over 37 years ago, when Annunciation House -- a sanctuary and home of hospitality that has served over 100,000 refugees, homeless poor and undocumented workers -- was started in El Paso, Texas, founding director Ruben Garcia and a few friends wanted to place themselves among the poor, to see where the poor would lead them. He said, "They took us to the undocumented -- the most vulnerable."

Garcia explained to me that since the undocumented have no legal status in the United States, they are forced to take undesirable, poorly paid jobs, which offer no benefits. Unlike poor U.S. citizens, undocumented workers and their families cannot receive food stamps, Medicaid, or housing assistance. They are at the lowest rung of American life.

I asked Garcia, "So why do they come?" He said, "They come because most often they and their families are extremely poor, and they cannot find jobs in their native countries that pay a living wage. And that the U.S. has many more low-skilled jobs than there are Americans who are willing to take them."

But why don't they enter legally? Because there are not enough low-skilled temporary worker visas available. And yet the demand for such workers is quite high. Plus the expense and burdensome government red tape required of employers tempts many of them to use "contractors" who often unscrupulously recruit undocumented workers.



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