Today the Providence Journal had an article about a man from Guatemala who came here to RI, was here for over 25 years and only got caught when the governors goon squad raided the state courthouses and arrested the cleaning crews.
It got me to thinking. The guy has been here for so long, paid taxes, raised a family, in general he’s done what every citizen usually does. He does the jobs that we won’t do, or don’t want to do. And this is our way of thanking him.
I was talking to a guy at the bus stop today and he brought up the immigration subject. I told him that we’re placing the blame on the wrong people. I explained that the prime beneficiaries of immigrant labor are businesses and they pay off the politicians to turn a blind eye to shoddy employment practices. I could tell he was interested, because I related it to the attacks on state employees. Turns out his girlfriend works for the state and I explained that I used to and that I never would again because I don’t like being played as a scapegoat by asshole Republicans like Gobernador Don Carcieri. (Or is that Governatore???)
Not long ago the ProJo ran a series of pictures of Italian and Irish immigrants building out the natural gas distribution system in the late 19th century. I think to the fact that part of my ancestry is Italian, that if my great grandparents hadn’t migrated here back in the early 1900’s where would I be? Talk about an existential crisis. My great grandmother naturalized in 1937, my great grandfather never did.
There’s a whole history of my family that I only discovered when I was older, like the naturalization fact. I knew that both my grandfathers served during WW II, one in Europe the other in the Pacific theater. It’s funny all the stuff you find out later.
I have some memories of Grandma Vincenzina and it’s funny that even today I hear certain Italian phrases and the memory comes flooding back. It’s why watching the Soprano’s was so much fun. I got the inside references in that show for more reasons than just the linguistic stuff.
Never thought I’d find myself agreeing with a Roman Catholic Bishop but Tobin actually gets it. And I get it too, business would prefer to break the back of employees so they exploit immigrants. Nice isn’t it.