The Marc Steiner Show

06/12/07 1 pm Voices of Immigrants


With immigration reform legislation floundering and the status of millions of people who reside illegally in this country still undecided, we thought it would be an appropriate time to have another show where we hear directly the voices of immigrations, documented and undocumented.

We’ll be hearing from Ruben Chandrasekar, an immigrant from South India, who lives here in Baltimore and works for the American Friends Service Committee.  He works on immigration issues, so he can speak not just about his own experiences but also those of people he helps everyday.  Also, Luis, who is an undocumented immigrant from Guatamala.  He came here to try and make enough money to help his mother escape an abusive relationship. 

I’m a big fan of getting all the facts…which is why when we have shows on immigration we’ve heard from people who can talk about how it can effect schools, hospitals, the economy, how long it will take an ambulance to get to your house.  But part of the facts we need to gather is also why people come here, under what circumstances, and what will happen if they are denied a path to citizenship or if the legal route into this country is made more difficult. 

I hope you enjoy it.


Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. Good Day Marc,

    Your guests, and those who support amnesty for illegal immigrants, ignore some important issues.

    The use of the term “undocumented workers” ignores the fact that the ways these folks got here – and their daily remaining here – was and is in violation of our laws. We are a nation of laws here, and have been as successful as we are due to following The Rule of Law. The fact that they have broken the laws just to simply get here indicates that they may not be the type of individuals we want here. We remove from our society by imprisonment even our own citizens who break laws.

    Guest Ruben prefaced some of his comments with “The point isn’t that we broke the laws and came here illegally…”. His – and other illegal immigrants’ – arguments that we should not enforce our nation’s laws and require immigrants to follow legal processes to come here are similar to the following scenario:
    A person from the city next to yours sees that your neighborhood and home are nicer than his/her own. Because s/he wants what you have, s/he waits until you are not looking, and breaks into your home, setting up a living space in your basement. When you discover the crime and continuing theft of your food, power, phone service, living space, your security, and your own right to determine who enters and remains in your home. When you confront the criminal intruder, s/he tells you “well, you have to let me stay here now, because I’ve been mopping the basement floor, which you clearly didn’t do yourself.”

    Illegal immigrants have broken the law to be here, and continue to break the law to stay here, and demand rewards for doing do. Their requests to be rewarded and positively reinforced for eroding one of the most basic tenets of our society – obeying the rule of law – is totally groundless. The answer to the situation is to NOT reward them for breaking our law, but to enforce our laws more strictly.

    I noticed that Guest Ruben’s final comment was “…well, I agree that criminals are not the kinds of immigrants wanted here. If people have broken the law – committed crimes – they should be found and deported.” By his own admission, he – and others – break the laws of this nation just to be here – thus, he and those others should be deported, not rewarded.

  2. One of your guest stated “What about those immigrants that are here now”.
    You can’t send them ALL BACK.

    Employers are filling the demand for low pay positions with immigrants workers that are here legally and non-legal in this country.

    Why not have employers held responsible and accountable to the government for each legal and illegal immigrant worker currently here in the U.S. FINE EMPLOYER for NON COMPLIANCE with IRS.

    Having employers held responsibile to the government to sponsor workers and withhold their employees taxes paid to government for employee.
    Employors would also have to pay a workers fee per worker weather here legal and illegally and start a documenting employees trail to government when here and when leaving from one job to the next job.

    Give immigrants once documented the power to be whisleblowers to employers that are not following IRS rules as stated above.

    Melinea Thomas

  3. Just because we have a law, doesn’t make it a good law. Our history shows this to be the case, probably more often than we like to remember. Let’s not close the door on open debate and discussion about immigration policy options. We have the power to change innapropriate, unenforceable, and impractical laws. That, is what democracy is all about.

  4. I totally understand people moving to where the work is. It’s human nature.

    However, what illegal labor does is devalue the labor market.

    It’s not that Americans won’t do the jobs undocumented workers are doing, it’s that Americans won’t do it for the prices undocumented workers are doing it for. So, businesses like Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola (as well as corporate aggriculture) have found an illegal path around a market aspect they don’t like.

    This undermines the American labor market and labor unions and creates an underclass of unrepresented labor with no political voice.

    This is why The Bush Administration wants a guest worker program in the first place – to continue to bring cheap labor across the border so business doesn’t have to pay the going rate for American labor.

    While I’m all for giving people here a chance to work to attain citizenship (people who call this “amnesty” are either dishonest or don’t understand the meaning of the word), won’t giving people here illegally a path to citizenship actually destroy what makes them valuable to the very corporations that are attracting and exploiting their labor in the first place?

    Meaning – making illegal workers legal just means they’re no longer exploitable by those who are attracting them here.

    It seems to me that being angry at people looking for work (regardless of their country of origin) is blaming the victim. If you have a family – you will go to where you can best support them. That’s part of being human.

    Doesn’t it make sense to aggressively go after the people exploiting the labor instead of beating the “you broke the law to get here, you broke the law to get here” drum?

  5. The law is not necessarily bad just because those who choose to break it don’t like it or agree with it. Having immigration policies, laws, limits, and procedures isn’t “bad law” because illegal immigrants want to stay here. That’s like saying the laws against murder are bad laws because plenty of people who have murdered people would prefer to not have to face penalties, and others would like to murder people without facing penalty, or maybe even would like to see themselves being rewarded for it.

    That said, not all laws *are* good – but while they are law they should be abided by and enforced. If not, a functioning society devolves into anarchy.
    Immigration law is not only about those from Central and South America who want “the American dream” and have temper tantrum “but I’m here, you have to let me stay” reactions to the law being enforced. They are about security, stability, daily safety, and again – the rule of law. If you, and I, have to follow the law or face consequences – so should illegal immigrants have to face consequences, not be rewarded for invading.

    Since this is so contentious and there are so many different viewpoints, set it to referendum, and let all the people of the nation weigh in on it, rather than letting the potential change to the existing laws be made only by legislators who pander more to party politics, special interests, and lobbyists than they do try to accomplish what is in best interests of the people of the United States. Public policy and law should be made/revised to best serve those of us who are citizens here first, potential immigrants and the rest of the world later.

  6. >Doesn’t it make sense to aggressively go after the people exploiting the >labor instead of beating the “you broke the law to get here, you broke the >law to get here” drum?

    What it makes sense to do is have American employers be required to provide pay and benefits that would draw American people to want the jobs in the first place, and would allow those Americans to have a middle-class or better life as a result of having those jobs. It makes sense for the CEOs and others running the company to surrendur half of their 200-million-dollar salaries and much of their “other compensation” and use that money to increase the salaries and benefits of those actually doing the work that provides that money to the companies in the first place…meanwhile, enforcing laws on those employers who do use illegal workers.

    However, it makes no sense to reward illegal immigrants and workers for being here illegally.

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