Saturday, July 12, 2014

League City vs. the USA, Part 6: Those who live in glass tract houses

Most League City residents have contributed to illegal immigration through their own economic activity.  We can't all reap the benefits of the cheap construction provided by the 50% of Texas tradesmen who are undocumented and then turn around and disavow all responsibility for the corresponding problems that demand-driven illegal immigration predictably brings to our doorsteps.

Here's a join-the-dots example showing exactly how these moving parts all work together.  I chose this example below because this speaker voluntarily elected to self-identify in public and therefore it can be reasonably assumed that she claims no expectation of privacy with respect to her personal identity or her views on this subject.  
Screengrabbed from Y. C. Orozco's very thoughtful and thorough account (non-paywalled) of the vote that was held this past week.  
But where was Ms. Vickers' objection to third-world illegal immigration when those same people were most likely building her own house?  Publicly-available CAD records (PDF link) suggest that she and her husband purchased their 2002 suburban masterpiece directly from builder D.R. Horton, the same D.R. Horton who made the news shortly thereafter for its treatment of illegal alien residential construction workers.
I've read other news stories in which major builders proudly disavow any hiring of illegal aliens.  But of course they hire subcontractors en masse, and they typically don't check the immigration status of anyone working in the resulting supply chain.

Screengrabbed from this site.  
I am by no means singling out Ms. Vickers as disproportionately responsible for contributing to the local demand for illegal labor.  I suspect that, if a thorough analyses were done, every local homeowner would share a roughly equal responsibility.  Including the bulk of our City Council.

Every one of those elected reps who voted for that unenforceable resolution... every one of them appears to hold title to exactly the kind of suburban tract home that we can reasonably assume was likely built using a significant component of illegal labor.  But was there a single one of those representatives who was overtaken by the strength of their principles at the time of their home purchase and said, "Oh no, I cannot in good conscience follow through with this purchase because I know from simple statistics that this house was likely built in significant part using illegal labor, and I have taken a strong moral stand against contributing to the support and economic stimulation of illegal immigration in any way."

Apparently, not a one of them experienced an actionable twinge of conscience, a conscientious objection, at the time their sales closed.  But when there's an opportunity for political grandstanding that invokes those same anti-illegal-immigration principles that they'd prefer not to see violated, that is another story.

This is the basis for my objection to what League City has done here:  Those who live in glass tract houses should not throw stones.  Other commentators have invoked a humanitarian justification against the resolution, but I don't think that the analysis needs to progress beyond this simple bit of common sense that I'm presenting here.  

I am a legal immigrant.  It took me 13 long, difficult years to follow the procedure and finally attain the rights of American citizenship.  During those 13 years, I watched millions and millions of illegal immigrants simply walk into the country across an open border.  I would fervently like to see the federal government secure the border once and for all and stop all this madness.

Given those personal circumstances of mine, you'd think that I would be counted among those who are the most angry at the specter of tens of thousands more undocumented people streaming across our border at this time.  But the situation is not that simple because I recognize my own contribution to creating the conditions that brought us all to this unfortunate juncture.  

Before the illegal?? labor-intensive transformation: 
Our subdivision lot in League City, prior to the start of construction. How many of you have had the amazing privilege of building your own home?  It's a remarkable experience, especially if you're able to take a base architectural plan and transform it utterly into an almost-unrecognizable one-of-a-kind custom home, as my husband and I did with ours.

A hard hat, buckets of fresh joint compound, but no worker:
I have almost two thousand pictures of our home in progress, but only three of those pictures contain any evidence of human presence, and those three photos show no faces.  That's because every time I would show up with my camera to document each day's building progress, the tradesmen would hide themselves away until I was done.  I was always very careful to be discrete and respectful about what I was photographing, because it's not proper behavior to frighten vulnerable people, especially when they are working fourteen hours a day seven days a week on your behalf.   
Nameless, faceless, and furtive:
It was plenty warm out that day, as the mason in the blue T-shirt indicated by not wearing a jacket or even a long-sleeved shirt.  But his low-skilled helper felt compelled to pull up his hoodie so his face could not be seen.  Why might he have done that??  
I have absolutely no evidence that our builder or its subcontractors used any illegal construction labor.  I can only report the behaviors that I saw and the statistics that characterize the industry, those being that a full 50% of Texas' construction workers are undocumented (PDF link).     

I signed our home build contract.  I put up all that money that was used to stimulate additional demand for the services of those construction workers, including the very young man shown above who felt compelled to hide his face.  We have most definitely made our own suburban beds on the illegal immigration issue.  Now we have to lie in them.  

Good advice:
League City's building inspectors did not suffer fools gladly during our construction process, but this is good advice for everyone - Ms. Vickers, City Council, and everyone else who forms an opinion on our current illegal immigrant issue:  WAKE UP!  Wake up and see your own wider role in our collective situation.  


  1. Although, I agree with your basic premise, I am conflicted. I observed similar events as you and my objections or concerns went on deaf ears every where. Refusing to purchase our home would only hurt us, yet I disagreed with who built it. It is a frustrating situation for us average citizens. Thank you.

  2. Yes, it is a frustrating situation. But what could make it less frustrating is if people would simply be HONEST about what's going on around us - that's the first step to finding a better solution.

    For instance, we are beginning construction on a multi-multi-million-dollar luxury apartment complex built less than a mile from City Hall. Let's see City Council put our money where their mouths are and start picketing that site and demanding that the prime and all subcontractors show evidence that they all use the E-Verify employment vetting system for the tradesmen. Guess what?? It ain't going to happen. When they look at that site less than a mile from their own offices, I don't think they see the potential presence of the parents and uncles and cousins and neighbors of the illegal children now streaming across our border. I suspect that all they see is a plum new source of tax revenue, because I suspect that's all that they want to see. And that's hypocrisy. We've got nowhere to go from that state of mind if anything is to improve.


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