Monday, June 13, 2005

How to Live on $7/Hour

Pity-posts frequently describe illegal aliens -- along with many legal/legalized immigrants -- as poor. Certainly the statistics show most illegal aliens living below the U.S. poverty line.

Yet they also "remit" over $100 billion a year to their home countries. Mexico alone expects to reap $20 billion this year. And these are just "legal," traceable remittances through banks and other financial institutions. It excludes a far larger amount of couriered cash, laundered funds and payments to smugglers which wind up offshore. Estimates of the total outflow run as high as half a trillion dollars per year.

I was standing at the counter of my mailbox service in Pasadena, CA, to pick up a package one Thursday afternoon, waiting while a man bought three money orders for $300 each. The transfer service he used included a phone call, and he place three free calls to a Central American country. A woman with a small baby in a stroller stood beside him for the entire transaction, and they finally left together.

The mailbox service owner told me that man sent three $300 money orders to the same people every Thursday. With money order fees, it amounted to nearly $1000 a week, over $50,000 a year -- all cash.

If I hadn't run into these people the very next afternoon, I probably would never have recognized them. The woman, now with two babies stuffed in the stroller, plus five more little kids, showed up at the weekly Catholic Charities food distribution. She hauled several bags of food halfway up the block, where her presumed "husband" and another woman waited beside a station wagon. The man loaded the rear with the groceries while the women changed the kids' clothes. Then the second woman took all seven kids back into Catholic Charities. Within 15 minutes, she emerged with another six bags of groceries.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities turned away a disabled middle-aged American woman. "We only help families with children," they told her. I followed as she limped, leg in a brace, eight blocks to a building of tiny studio apartments. She had no car, no ride, no bus fare -- and no food.

The "poverty ploy" is a big-time scam. They plead poverty and a plethora of children, raid food distribution centers, and spend next to nothing on groceries. One woman will take two or three families' worth of kids to get more aid, while the other mother(s) do likewise. Double- (or triple-) dipping depletes food banks ever faster. But the claims of the food banks on numbers they serve are misleading because of this.

The next time you think of volunteering -- or donating -- to a food bank, ask whether the people served are genuinely needy or reaping free food to squirrel away $900 a week.

3 Comments:

Blogger cinc310 said...

Well, if he is sending 50,000 back home,he and the lady should keep that money and go back to their country in a few years.

7:43 PM  
Blogger ibu guru said...

In a country where a family can live well on less than US$5000 a year, in one year he stashed away enough to live for ten years or more. He can live on the interest alone! He can pay his way home now.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Anthony213 said...

Wait a second. Arent all the illegals just here to work hard and become Americans. Americans either through corruption, ignorance or greed allowed this to happen. Now the corrupt US Government wants to give the illegal aliens amnesty then citizenship. This will definitely be the end of our country. We will be over run with many other foriegn national all balkanizing in a separate part of the US. The comments from others almost seem surreal, cynical to say the least. No wonder as a nation we are in our 11th hour.
Just what level of corruption from the government will it take for Americans to at least speak up!
Anthony

11:27 PM  

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