As a recent college graduate, and during the 2008 recession, I struggled to find work with my bachelor’s degree, so I resorted to waiting tables at an Italian restaurant in order to make ends meet. My boss never liked me, despite the fact that like him, I was fluent in Italian. He couldn’t not give me the job because of my linguistic ability, and he despised me for it. From my co-workers I later learned that all of the chefs and dishwashers at the restaurant were undocumented immigrants.
I was paid the typical wage of $2.33/hr., but I noticed that he paid them in cash in the back of the restaurant. The owner learned Spanish and solicited illegal labor because he knew that he could pay the chefs and dishwashers less than minimum wage. He hired Americans to wait tables because laws allowed him to pay us below minimum wage, and we gave better face to the restaurant as far as legal legitimacy, yet of all the American employees he resented me the most. He knew that if the immigrants ever complained about wage or if they stole his recipes that he could threaten to deport them. I was a white male college graduate who spoke enough Spanish to talk with the undocumented immigrants, and in the end, I was fired from my job. My boss was also an avid Republican, and I believe that most Republican business owners, like he, love illegal immigration, and they love Trump’s proposal for a border wall, because they know that it will not work by design.
One of Donald Trump’s hallmark campaign promises was that he promised to build a wall along the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration. He is known among his followers to come very strong on illegal immigration, but in the end, business owners, like him, love illegal immigration and have no intention of doing away with it. Perhaps, this is why the border wall appeals to them so much. I imagine that to them the border wall is a checkmark to demonstrate to their most racist of followers that they care about keeping illegal immigrants out of this country. They scapegoat immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, for stealing their jobs and not paying taxes, yet at the same time they hire them to pick fruit, make beds, and cook food. The Washington Post published “President Trump Uses Undocumented Immigrant Labor. Is Anyone Surprised?” that details the story of Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant who has worked for the Trump organization for years. “Victorina has made Donald J. Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies.” She also admitted that she was one of many undocumented immigrants who works for Trump’s hotels.
Many experts, including those at the Cato Institute have criticized the wall project, saying that it won’t work. Between tunnels, ladders, ramps, boats, areas where construction is not possible, and airplanes, the Cato Institute believes that the wall will do nothing to prevent illegal immigration; in fact, the construction of a wall is more likely to have the opposite effect of keeping illegal immigrants inside the country. It should come to no one’s surprise that Trump’s wall was designed to do two things, pander to his most racist followers, and to do nothing to prevent illegal immigration. Many Republicans in business balance two conflicting feelings, their contempt for Latin Americans, and their love for cheap labor. The wall serves as a solution that allows them to outwardly exhibit their racism while doing nothing to harm their base of unskilled labor.