I’ve had my car cleaned and waxed at the Marina Car Wash numerous times. Prices weren’t cheap but the work was done well and the Venice location was convenient. I didn’t realize how desperate the workers were for generous tips until the filed against the owners alleging that they didn’t pay their people minimum wage of $64 a day, or overtime.
The place was always busy, but rather than do the right thing, and shut the doors. I know what it feels like to be let go from a job just before Christmas, probably the worst time of the year to be unemployed.
I couldn’t help but notice that the people who cleaned my car could barely speak English. It’s not a big leap to conclude that some were undocumented workers. Exploiting illegal immigrants will continue unabated until there is national comprehensive immigration reform.
Even a modest first step, the DREAM Act, is threatened by Republican obstructionism. DREAM stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. It would give children who came here with their undocumented parents under the age of 16, a chance to earn permanent residency and ultimately citizenship if they don’t have a criminal record and either serve in the military or graduate from high school and work toward a two or four year degree. Many of these kids don’t speak the language of their native land, but as the law now stands, they could be deported.
The DREAM Act died in the Senate this year, and it might not resurface during President Obama's administration.
Passing it would be a great way to encourage illegal immigrant children to aspire to more than working in a car wash.