Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Waiting for the fallout

After Immigration requested work eligibility verification from the plant workers, they gave the people 5 days to come up with the documentation needed. This means that Wednesday, tomorrow, is the last day that people will be able to work. The sentiment amongst some of the illegal immigrants who are forced out of their jobs is "vamos a darle hasta donde de", meaning "we are going to take it as far as it goes". Even if they don't get the proper documents, the plant is legally required to pay them for their work. For many, another paycheck is essential. Wednesday is the day when we get the fallout of last Friday's request by the feds.

One thing that has cropped up is a premium for "rented" identities. Under normal circumstances, you can buy a social security number and birth certificate for around $150. I have friends who have some extra identities stashed away for resale back home in the RGV. The going rate for a rented identity currently is $500. That's roughly one week's paycheck at the plant. It's a small price to pay for the chance to finish the season until the end of September. I know the rate because they are hitting all legal migrants with offers. Some people are taking the cash and others are wary of doing it. Those who are going into it see the potential of collecting unemployment insurance and a tax return on work they did not do. Those who have good credit and who are in college aren't going for the money because of the potential to cause problems with future credit and financial aid.

For those unwilling or unable to acquire the needed papers, they will be leaving the area for greener pastures. I'll be getting news about what the families are going to do. Really, there are only two options: stay, or leave.

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