Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Did We Learn From Gloria? Don't Hire a Mexcan!

Beware the law of unintended consequences. -

As elections draw near, I tend to get a little nervous. I don’t really trust large portions of the American electorate to make the right decisions at the polls. Not that they are stupid, because they aren’t. However, most are busy running their own lives and too busy to study candidates and issues. This is especially true of the bulk of working-class America, who would tend to vote in accordance with how I see things if they really knew the issues and the facts. However, since the time they have to devote to political thinking is limited, they form their opinions based on snippets they see on TV. As we know, those can be very misleading. I am waiting for the malicious hit-piece ads that usually occur near election time so victims of these ads don’t have time to defend themselves.

Lurking under of all this was the horrible feeling that we hadn’t heard from Gloria Allred for a while. Had she disappeared? Retired? Alas, no. She finally surfaced on September 29. Ms. Allred announced to the media she would be representing an illegal immigrant, Niki Diaz, with “explosive” allegations against GOP Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.

How most people viewed this likely was determined as soon as they heard the charge. If you are of a liberal persuasion, you probably assumed the charges were true and thought of Ms. Whitman as a hypocrite and liar in accordance with Gloria’s claims. If you are a conservative, you immediately were suspicious this was a political hit piece with little or no truth. Regardless of the debate to follow, the TV and internet pundits, for the most part, stuck to their initial versions of the story, and their opinions.

What’s interesting to me is the lack of discussion of the potential effects of this fiasco. What was going through Gloria Allred’s mind in taking this maneuver? As far as I know at this time, there is no actual legal action, so this is all for show. What is the show? Who benefits and loses from this show?

Okay, probably Jerry Brown’s election chances will benefit, and thus Meg Whitman loses. Any open-minded person who heard the charges and saw Ms. Diaz on TV crying under Ms. Allred’s arm probably got the intended message from Ms. Allred. It is my view that informed reasonable people not only deduced from Ms. Whitman’s reply and the facts that Ms. Whitman not only was well within the law, she behaved far better than the law requires, and should be held up as a good example, not a bad one. I suspect reasonable people will believe it was an unconscionable hit piece. But whether they actually heard the answers from Ms. Whitman depends on chance. It is absolute that many won’t hear the rebuttal, and if they don’t, they will believe Gloria’s charges. It is a numbers game. Throw it out and some people will believe. Therefore, Meg Whitman will probably lose to some degree, thus benefiting Jerry Brown.

I guess Gloria Allred will benefit from this as well. She probably thinks the notoriety is good for her, so this is right up her alley.

Now, how about who loses? In addition to Ms. Whitman, there are others. Niki, Latinos everywhere, legal and illegal, and anyone who is not an “obvious” American.

For starters, unless Niki reaches celebrity status, who will ever hire her again for a good wage? I mean, if you are a wealthy individual and are looking for domestic help, would you hire her? Especially after she is now known to be illegal? After 9 years of working for Ms. Whitman for $23 per hour (over twice the normal wage for that job) she complains and files a public charge against her? There’s gratitude for you! As an employer, why take a chance? If Niki ever was likely to get a good recommendation from Meg, she won’t now. And anyone paying attention to the news won’t hire Niki either.

In addition, Ms. Allred has opened up the door for potential legal charges against her own client. Niki admittedly filed false paperwork, including using a phony social security card. These are potentially serious criminal charges. Of course, with Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano running the appropriate departments, it is not unlikely they will turn their heads from the matter. Nevertheless, she is not in an enviable position.

But here is the real kicker - this has to make you question if you should ever hire a Latino or any possible foreign person at all, even if they have documentation.

Let’s look at some undisputed facts. Niki was hired through a legitimate employment agency. She had a social security card. Ms. Whitman paid all withholdings and payroll taxes. She said she was here legally. Again, these facts are undisputed.

There are also disputed issues. Since Niki retrieved the mail, did Ms. Whitman ever get the incriminating letter from the SSA as stated by Gloria? Was the note scratched on the back by Meg’s husband suggesting Niki “look into this” legitimate? Even if those charges are true, when he asked Niki to “look into this” probably believing her to be legal and was worried she might not be getting her SS benefits, should anything else have been done?

In my view, Meg and her husband did absolutely everything reasonably expected of them, not only by the law, but by common decency as well. Would it be reasonable of them to stay suspicious of their employee without any real justification? You may think so, maybe not. Regardless, there is no reason to take the chance. Why go through the extra layer of effort when you don’t have to, especially if a slip on your part can cause you serious harm? Hmmm, let’s see, hire someone with a risk of damage to my reputation and financial well-being or hire someone without that risk, which is the better choice? Hiring anyone besides an obvious American citizen is a break even or lose situation, so why do it?

After this Allred stunt, anyone who is wealthy, or anyone who thinks they will ever be in a position to be compromised if something like this happened would be foolish to hire anyone except someone who appeared to be a natural citizen, i.e., white people or black people who speak natural English. How about someone named Martinez who speaks perfect English and seems perfectly “American?” He could, after all, have been brought here illegally, but grew up and is indistinguishable from the typical illegal person. While the risk might not be great, or if it is worth it to you to go through the extra effort if you like someone, it still should cross your mind that you are taking a chance.

Most likely, the average everyday Joe who hires an illegal to do his lawn once a week or clean his house is not at great risk. But bear in mind that we don’t really know where life leads us, and something like this could pop up as an embarrassment or even a criminal action sometime in anyone’s future, even 10 years down the road.

It is clear the federal government is responsible for our immigration system. The responsibility should not be placed on our citizens to determine if potential employees are legitimate. Until the federal government accepts it’s responsibility in this issue and can either close the borders or come up with easy, sure-fire ways for the public to make a determination of someone’s legal status, it is hypocritical to blame citizens (or companies) for hiring someone with a social security card. In the case of Niki Diaz, the SSA should absolutely have been the entity to “look into this,” not Ms. Whitman.

Meanwhile, you are taking a chance hiring anyone of Hispanic heritage, especially for a well-paid job. So, until the feds can come up with a way to make Americans comfortable hiring anyone of Hispanic appearance, Muchas Gracias Gloria Allred.

Mercer Tyson

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