Lemons are seen rotting in a road trench as dozens of immigrant farm workers march in Santa Paula, California, July 1, 2004, on the second day of a five-day march held to protest recent immigration raids. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
Tabloids are rushing to scrutinize every detail of the personal and professional life of former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, President Bush's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security. The scramble for scandalous scraps has overshadowed Kerik's original reason for dropping out and raises a more pressing national issue -- the inanity of immigration laws that penalize workers for traveling far from home to improve their lives and tax laws that set extremely low thresholds for taxes on domestic help.
"There's an element of hypocrisy on all of our parts here. We need these immigrants, we hire them, we see them working, they help our economic engine going, yet a lot of people say, 'Well wait a minute, we have to enforce our immigration laws more aggressively.'"
"Immigrants come here and do jobs -- in agriculture, in construction, and in the service industries at hotels -- that a lot of Americans don't want to do. You're putting the economy in trouble when you put in place laws that work against what the economy needs to continue to thrive."
"You see a lot of Western Republicans from Arizona and a lot of the border states, where there is a strong feeling that immigrants come and take away jobs. What has been sort of nice about the Kerik debate is the fact that this reminds us that there are a huge number of Americans out there who depend on these immigrants for vital services."
"It's not just rich parents, working couples, who hire nannies. It is middle class people who would, if the tax code made it easier for them, they might hire a nanny rather than send their kids to daycare. It is also the elderly, who need some help at home."