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Illegals 'steal' jobs; greedy companies won't pay

Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 2/24/2013

In the story "Illegal immigrant pleads case before Senate panel" [Feb. 14], an illegal immigrant did just that. Please allow me, as a legal citizen, to plead mine.

I was a painting contractor for 23 years, emphasis on the word "was." For years now, small businessmen like me have had to sit back and watch our futures stolen due to the steady influx of illegal immigrants into the trades. We simply cannot compete against companies who hire illegals and pay them rock-bottom wages. To make matters worse, many of these workers are being exploited, and do not even earn minimum wage.

It's bad enough that our government has turned its back on small businessmen, like me, who pay taxes and are contributing members of society, but when you add in the companies that are hiring illegal workers (emphasis on "illegal"), then you have a lot of people losing out.

Now, these companies will tell you that they simply can't find workers to fill the slots, and so they've been left with no alternative. This is the standard excuse we've been hearing for years now, and it is simply not true. What they are unable to find is workers who are willing to work for the ridiculous and inhumanely low wages that they are now paying to illegals.

So, we chalk one more up to greed. Instead of working together in this country, where everyone might benefit, a few make out while the rest of us are left holding the bag. I worked so very hard for many years, and now not only is my business gone, but I can't even get a painting job working for someone else.

Don't believe me? The other day I went to a job site to look for work. There were 10 painters there working away. I kept asking who the supervisor was, but not one of them could speak a word of English. When I finally found the boss, he just shook his head: Sorry, not hiring.

Bo Thompson