Tag: economic crisis

CommentaryImmigration News

News Analysis: Geithner’s Problems Refocus Attention on Undocumented Gardeners and Housekeepers

Aswini Anburajan, FI2W contributor

Aswini Anburajan, FI2W contributor

Democrats and Republicans alike appear to have little stomach to derail the nomination of Tim Geithner, President-elect Obama’s pick for Secretary of Treasury, despite his failure to pay $43,000 in taxes on time, and his hiring of a housekeeper who briefly lacked proper work papers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed Geithner’s troubles this week as “a few little hiccups” in the nomination process.

Does political dismissal of Geithner’s troubles reflect a change in attitudes toward issues like the hiring of undocumented workers?

Little attention has been given to Geithner’s hiring of the worker, whose legal papers expired while she was employed him. Instead pundits and papers have focused on the irony that the man who will lead the Internal Revenue Service can’t figure out how much he owes in taxes.

Getty Images/Wall Street Journal)

Geithner (Getty Images/Wall Street Journal)

Geithner’s hiring of a housekeeper whose work papers expired should be noted, not as a criticism, but as a reality that the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country are interwoven in the American workforce.

Geithner isn’t the first public official in this situation. In the presidential primaries, as Republican Mitt Romney campaigned around the country promising to crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the Boston Globe revealed that undocumented workers had been part of the landscaping firm hired by the Romneys.

Two of President Bill Clinton’s nominees for attorney general, Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, were both disqualified for hiring nannies that were undocumented and for not paying social security taxes on their wages.



Hispanics Suffer Crisis In The Auto Industry: Martina Guzmán on WDET, Detroit Public Radio

Detroit public radio WDET today aired a piece by Feet In 2 Worlds reporter Martina Guzmán on the plight of Hispanic autoworkers and business owners who are suffering the crisis in the auto industry.

From the webpage of Detroit Today, hosted by Craig Fahle:

For decades Latino immigrants have achieved the American dream through the U.S. Auto Industry. At roughly 12 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing work force, Latinos acquired wealth and stability through good salaries, health benefits, union membership and a way to send the next generation to college. Now, all of that is in jeopardy with the Big 3 near collapse. As part of our occasional series, Feet in Two Worlds, WDET’s Martina Guzman reports on what Hispanic autoworkers are experiencing in the wake of the automotive crisis.

You can hear the story by pressing Play below:


And you can read Martina’s post on the same subject from earlier this week here.


Crisis in U.S. Auto Industry Sends Chill Through Latino Autoworkers and Business Owners

By Martina Guzman, FI2W reporter

For decades Latino immigrants have achieved the American dream through the U.S. auto industry. Manufacturing plants provided a way for first-generation Latinos to acquire wealth, stability, and the means to send their children to college through good salaries, health benefits, and union protection. Now all of that is in jeopardy with General Motors, Chrysler and Ford near collapse.

Next Sunday, January 17, The North American International Auto Show opens to the public at Detroit’s Cobo Center. Close to seven thousand journalists from 60 countries will watch as automakers unveil 60 new production vehicles and concept cars, and discuss green machines that will help shape the future of hybrid and battery-operated vehicles.

Truck turned moving billboard urging support of Detroit Automakers by MichiganMoves.
Six degrees from Detroit. (Photo: MichiganMoves)

While some of Metro Detroit’s most established socialites will be pulling out tuxedos and designer evening gowns for the show’s gala charity events, Hispanic autoworkers, one of the groups directly affected by the downfall of the Big Three, are pondering their fate in this economic recession.

Assembly worker Cindy Garcia is a second-generation autoworker. Garcia attended Wayne State University but opted to work at Ford because, like her father, she saw it as a secure way to achieve a better standard of living.

Her father, Jose Ramos, immigrated to the United States from Tamaulipas, Mexico in the 1970s. Drawn by the auto industry’s solid wages and excellent health care benefits, Ramos worked in auto manufacturing for 30-years, made his way into the middle class, and was able to send his children to college.

“He came here, got the American dream like the rest of the immigrants who came back in the day when they were trying to form the union,” Garcia said. “They did as much as they could but now the whole dream has fallen apart.”

Garcia’s sense of economic insecurity is shared by many Latinos. According to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, “Latinos hold a more negative view of their own current personal financial situation than does the general U.S. population.” The report goes on to say:

More than three-in-four (76%) Latinos, and 84% of foreign-born Latinos, say their current personal finances are in either fair or poor shape, while 63% of the general U.S. population says the same.”

Garcia has nine years seniority at Ford Motor Company. A relatively short time compared to many Latino assembly workers who have built cars for more than 20 years. A wife and a mother of two, Garcia is already thinking the coming year will be worse than this one.

“Unless things shape up, the next few Christmases we’ll probably be in another house or living with family, and having smaller meals and sharing clothes and passing food cans around within the family… it’s going to be very rough,” Garcia said.

“When I wake up every morning I wonder if I’m going to have a job, if I’m going to be able to feed my kids, be able to put them through school, if I’m going to be able to keep this house that I have, am I going to be able to keep the car, am I going to be able to keep up with the bills?” (more…)

Immigration NewsIndian

Madoff, Meet Satyam: India Now Has Its Own Huge Financial Scandal

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

As if the global economic outlook wasn’t bleak enough already, India now has its own financial scandal to add to the bad news.

Ramalingan Raju, Satyam founder and chairman (Reuters)

Ramalingan Raju, Satyam founder and chairman (Reuters)

What’s known as the Satyam scandal — after information technology outsourcing firm Satyam Computer Services — became big news on Jan. 7, when chairman Ramalingam Raju resigned, admitting the company had inflated its profits over several years and falsified accounts and assets.

The company’s shares plummeted 80 percent and sent markets “on a tailspin,” wrote Reuters’ Sumeet Chatterjee, who called the case “India’s biggest corporate scandal in memory.” The Satyam case has become India’s own equivalent of the revelations about Bernard Madoff’s alleged swindle in the U.S.


LatinoMexico City

Mexican Migrants' Return Home Not As "Massive" As Expected

Turns out that, if anything, the U.S economic crisis has motivated many Mexican migrants to remain in the U.S., rather than make the expensive trip back home to try to weather the economic storm in an economy that is less well-prepared to deal with it.

Immigration NewsMexico City

Economic Self-Deportation: Mexicans Leaving the U.S., No Longer Just Because of La Migra

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

[Please read an update on this story here.]
Mexico is bracing for the consequences of the U.S. economic crisis. Among these is an increase in Mexican immigrants going back to their home country — chased away by the lack of jobs north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the general economic downturn, as well as tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

Antonio García Conejo, an official from the Mexican state of Michoacán, is one of those pointing to a dramatic increase in Mexicans leaving the U.S. and returning home.

The return of Mexicans has already started, but many more arrivals are expected at the end of the year and in 2009.

Conejo was quoted by the Mexican newspaper El Universal. His state has been a major beneficiary of remittances, money sent home by expatriates living and working in the United States. The level of remittances to Mexico has been falling since last year, initially due to the slowing U.S. housing market.

In another story published Wednesday, El Universal said that 1,400 Mexicans are crossing the border back into Tamaulipas state from Texas every week — double the normal amount, according to a state legislator. The border city of Nuevo Laredo has decided to charter buses to help those people reach their home communities in states to the south to prevent an increase in local unemployment and vagrancy, the official said.

The wave of immigrants returning to an already struggling Mexican economy could be massive. A Milenio newspaper columnist citing an official report from the Puebla state government says about two million Mexicans are expected to go back next year. Deborah Bonello, a reporter blogging for the Los Angeles Times from Mexico City, reports a much lower estimate by Cruz Lopez, head of Mexico’s National Confederation of Farm Workers:

Mexico should prepare itself for both the forced and voluntary return of more than 350,000 of its people currently living in the United States due to the financial crisis north of the border…