Republican California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari recently spent a week homeless on the streets of Fresno, CA, and he may have discovered why so many American workers oppose illegal immigration.
His struggles to find a job–let alone food and a roof over his head–exemplify why American workers oppose illegal immigration and President Barack Obama’s plans to give millions of illegal immigrants work permits in an economy that has not recovered for them.
On Thursday, fierce opposition to Obama’s potential granting of work permits to millions of illegal immigrants caused House GOP leaders to pull their border bill, which did not explicitly ban Obama from implementing potential executive actions.
Kashkari “wanted to see firsthand” if California was in the midst of a comeback, as Governor Jerry Brown has been claiming. So, “with only $40 in my pocket (and no credit cards), a backpack, a change of clothes, and a toothbrush,” he took a Greyhound bus last week from Los Angeles to Fresno, one of the most struggling cities in America. As Kashkari writes in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, he “planned to find a job and earn enough money to get by.” The “able-bodied 41-year-old” thought, “Surely I could find some work.”
Kashkari, who is known as the architect of the TARP Wall Street bailouts, brought a videographer along with him on a journey in which he met the “forgotten man” that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has always fought for and says the Republican Party needs to represent.
Upon arrival, Kashkari saw a “Going Out of Business” sign and realized it may not be that easy to get a job in Fresno. Numerous people told him jobs are scarce because, “it’s slow right now.” He met someone who hasn’t found work since November, another who said the economy has “been bad everywhere,” and a worker at a laundromat who was glad to have work that pays $20 a day.
Kashkari offered to do all the jobs that Americans, if one listens to pro-amnesty advocates, supposedly will not do:
Over the next seven days, I walked mile after mile in 100-degree heat searching for a job. I offered to do anything: wash dishes, sweep floors, pack boxes, cook meals, anything. I went to dozens of businesses in search of work but wasn’t able to get any. In seven days, I didn’t see a single “Help Wanted” sign, but I did see plenty of signs that fast-food outlets now accept food stamps.
But nobody was hiring. After he could not find work and ran out of money, Kashkari had to sleep on the streets and go to a food bank to eat. Fresno Community Food Bank, he notes, “is doing a record business these days, serving food to 220,000 residents, including 90,000 children, each month, up 340% from a few years ago, according to the food bank.” The food bank’s director said that if the economy is improving, only those at the very top are benefiting. He told Kashkari that people in his community are accepting food and help that they would not have ten years ago.
As Kashkari noted, California’s leads the nation with its 24% poverty rate and is last in business climate, which prevents people from getting a job that would solve a lot of the problems Kashkari faced:
I walked for hours and hours in search of a job, giving me a lot of time to think. Five days into my search, hungry, tired and hot, I asked myself: What would solve my problems? Food stamps? Welfare? An increased minimum wage?
No. I needed a job. Period. Like others, I have often said the best social program in the world is a good job. Even though my homeless trek was only for a week, with a defined endpoint, that statement became much more real for me. A job was the one thing that could have solved my food, housing and transportation problems.
American workers, like those in Fresno, know that wages are not rising for the jobs that are becoming more scarce. They know that their social services, as Palin said, are being stretched to the max. Yet, the Obama administration forces them to take care of illegal immigrant juveniles while pressing to bring in more foreign workers to compete with them for jobs.
They understand Palin’s frustration in calling for impeachment due to Obama’s lawlessness on illegal immigration, which she said was the “tipping point,” because it impacted American workers of all backgrounds, including legal immigrants:
The federal government is trillions of dollars in debt; many cities are on the verge of insolvency; our overrun healthcare system, police forces, social services, schools, and our unsustainably generous welfare-state programs are stretched to the max. We average Americans know that. So why has this issue been allowed to be turned upside down with our “leader” creating such unsafe conditions while at the same time obstructing any economic recovery by creating more dependents than he allows producers? His friendly wealthy bipartisan elite, who want cheap foreign labor and can afford for themselves the best “border security” money can buy in their own exclusive communities, do not care that Obama tapped us out.
Have faith that average American workers – native-born and wonderful legal immigrants of all races, backgrounds, and political parties – do care because we’re the ones getting screwed as we’re forced to follow all our government’s rules while others are not required to do so. Many now feel like strangers in their own land. It’s the American worker who is forced to deal with Obama’s latest crisis with our hard-earned tax dollars while middle class wages decrease, sustainable jobs get more scarce, and communities become unrecognizable and bankrupted due to Obama’s flood of illegal immigration.
Who’s looking out for the American workers? Who has their backs? Who fights for them?
On Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has been relentlessly opposing amnesty legislation to stick up for American workers, mentioned that since 2000, the federal government has granted nearly 30 million immigration and guest-worker visas to allow foreigners “to legally work in the United States.”
He emphasized that Obama’s planned work permits for illegal immigrants would even push “down wages for our recent immigrants looking to rise into the middle class” in addition to those for many Hispanics and African-American workers.
“We don’t have too few workers,” Sessions said. “We have too few jobs. Wages are down.”
Kashkari said he left Fresno optimistic because of the belief that the people of Fresno had in themselves, their state, and country. But Obama’s executive actions would make it even tougher for American workers to get back on their feet and start climbing the economic ladder again.
Kashkari appeared on MSNBC on Thursday morning to say he hoped his week in Fresno could start a conversation with Brown about his so-called “California comeback,” which is still leaving plenty of workers behind. But he just as well could use his experiences to start a conversation with establishment Republicans.
The video below of Kashkari’s week in Fresno is not only a powerful indictment of Brown’s policies, but also those pushed by a Republican establishment that often seems more concerned about the interests of “Boomtown” and the bipartisan pro-amnesty lobby than the interests of Main Street.