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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Canadian Illegal Alien

by Beth Slovic, Willamette Week: On a construction site in North Portland, an illegal immigrant pounds nails and cuts two-by-fours. With each swift motion, he’s breaking the law. He could be the poster child for anti-illegal immigrant zealots: He’s nonchalant about his status for the most part, unconcerned about not paying U.S. taxes and indifferent to the fact that he’s “stealing” the job of a U.S. citizen. But he passes through Portland mostly untouched by the spittle spewing from the seal-our-borders-now camp. Why? Because he’s not Mexican. He’s an illegal Canadian . . .

Morgan . . . is not the face of undocumented immigrants in this country. Tall and white with a light-brown fauxhawk, Morgan, 27, looks more like a typical Portlander, someone born and bred in the nation of Bruce Springsteen. . . . on Northeast Alberta Street, where he sometimes hangs out, Morgan is just one more passing soul, an artist and a painter who skateboards or bikes to work because he can’t afford a car. “I’m just your average Joe,” Morgan says. “A honky and a hoser. Irresponsible. A dreamer.” Morgan’s been in the United States—undetected and unbothered by federal immigration authorities—since fall 2002.

Morgan's just a single guy with a GED who's looking to clock his 40 hours a week, spend time with his friends and pursue his art. He's not escaping crime-filled cities or harsh economic conditions at home. He's not "homeless, tempest-tossed" in search of higher wages to feed his family. He's not yearning for a better education for his future children. He says he has no aspirations of buying a house in the United States. He doesn't want a bank account, a credit card or even a movie-rental membership, all of which he currently lacks. Compared with the estimated 6 million undocumented immigrants from Mexico in this country today, his goals are much more modest--perhaps even a tad selfish. . . .

He's not exactly remorseful about leaving the North to flout U.S. immigration law. He appears to have company. The Urban Institute, a research group in Washington, D.C., estimates between 65,000 and 75,000 undocumented Canadians currently live in the United States. . . . Morgan's presence in this country is both a confirmation of the failures of U.S. current immigration policies and a testament to the absurdity of attempts to change them.

. . . He doesn't have a Social Security number, so he can work only for employers who will agree to pay him under the table. He earns $10 an hour, a wage that puts his annual salary at $20,000. . . . His friends and bosses know he's not supposed to be here. If anyone else asks, he repeats the line he uses at border crossings and airports. "I'm just visiting," he says. . . . In all his years here, Morgan has never sent a cent of his earnings to Uncle Sam. He also doesn't pay Canadian taxes, he says. Instead, he spends a good portion of his money on helping the homeless, he claims. "My measly little morsels," he calls his salary. "My crumbs off the table." . . . He has been searched and questioned at the border before, but only once have border agents turned Morgan away. They told him that he'd be "red flagged" if he tried to return. He did anyway. He simply waited a week then crossed at a different border gate in the car of a friend from Portland who drove to Canada to get him. "I don't know what they know and what they don't know, whether it's all there and they turn a blind eye or it's all guesswork," Morgan says.

. . . His attraction to the United States--and Portland in particular--isn't the same as the pull for other immigrants, to be sure. It's not as plain as wanting a better life. His parents say their son gets a thrill from living in the United States, in part because he's breaking the rules. They don't think he should be here. "His mum feels he's always liked to live on the edge a little bit." Morgan's father says. "I think he's rubbing [authorities' noses] in it a little bit, saying, "'I'm here and you haven't done anything about it.'" Morgan admits his parents' assessment is true; he enjoys being here in some small way simply because he's not allowed. He jokes about finding an American woman to marry him. . . . [Read More - Original Source]

Tags: Canada, illegal aliens, illegal workers, Portland, Washington
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:26 AM - Post Link


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