A CEO of a company dealing with Latinos went on CNN Friday morning and lambasted what he saw as the devilish way of dealing with illegal immigrants – calling them "illegal." The guest, Charles P. Garcia, had also written an op-ed for CNN.com titled "Imagine a Day Without a Mexican."
"I think on our shoulder we have the proverbial angel, and we have the devil over here who's dressed up as Wyatt Earp. And Wyatt Earp is the law man, and he uses the term illegal," sounded Garcia, CEO of Garcia Trujillo.
While crusading against bigotry, Garcia then adopted a mocking "redneck" tone to impersonate the "Wyatt Earp" character he railed against. "They're just a bunch of il-legal aliens, and they're takin' away our jobs, and they don't pay taxes, and they're free-loaders, and Martha, we should just build a thousand-foot wall," he said imitating the "law man" side of the immigration debate.
Meanwhile, Garcia argued that one taking the angelic side of the issue would be a "good samaritan" to the immigrants.
He used his point "Imagine a Day Without a Mexican" to raise awareness of the positive impact illegal immigrants have on the American economy. The title certainly echoes the nationwide 2006 "Great American Boycott" where immigrants and supporters marched and boycotted schools and businesses to demonstrate the effect immigrants have on the nation's workforce.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 2 on Newsroom at 9:45 a.m. EST, is as follows:
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: Starting with the whole notion of illegal immigrants. For starters, you say people need to change the language.
CHARLES P. GARCIA, CEO, Garcia Trujillo: Yeah, they definitely do. And the language of illegal – you see, I think on our shoulder we have the proverbial angel, and we have the devil over here who's dressed up as Wyatt Earp. And Wyatt Earp is the law man, and he uses the term illegal. "They're just a bunch of il-legal aliens, and they're takin away our jobs, and they don't pay taxes, and they're free-loaders, and Martha, we should just build a thousand-foot wall and –
WHITFIELD: And you're saying it's not that.
GARCIA: It's not that, and the angel on the other side is saying, you know what? No. It's the good samaritan. These folks can't – they're in Mexico, and other countries. They can't feed their families, and if it were my nine year-old daughter looking at her red hair and blu – big blue eyes look at me and say Daddy, I'm hungry, I wouldn't wait in line for ten years. I'd be the first one looking for these jobs that are available, get the documents I need, and feed my family. And that's kind of the problem.
WHITFIELD: So you write that the real justification here is that these illegal immigrants are really economic refugees. Explain what you mean by that?
GARCIA: What I mean by economic refugees is first of all, they don't have a choice. They're here because they're taking care of our family – their family, just like our forefathers did.
WHITFIELD: But people will argue they do have a choice. They cross the border, you choose to cross the border, illegally or not.
GARCIA: When you have bullets flying at you and you can't feed your family, the only thing that a man can do is take care of their family. So they come here, and what's lost in the debate, the dirty little secret, is that anywhere you live in America you pay sales tax. You pay property taxes. The state of Texas did the only study out there which said that the economic refugees brought in $18 billion in buying, which generated $1.8 billion in taxes for the state, and 1.4 went to pay for services. So it was a net gain of $500 million.
WHITFIELD: So is that the justification for changing the status? That there is money being made on the backs of you're calling – what you're calling economic refugees?
GARCIA: Right. And the final dirty little secret is something called income tax, when in 1986, when they passed the Immigration Reform bill, the employers get heavily fined if they don't collect. So of every dollar – here's a proverbial dollar – 15 cents goes out to Uncle Sam. And 15 cents in 2007 was $13 billion –
WHITFIELD: The opposition view would be billions are spent on indigent care, billions is spent on income taxes that are not collected.
GARCIA: But what they're not telling you, and the head of the Social Security was testifying this week before Congress, that if it weren't for this $13 billion a year coming in from income taxes that are going into Medicare, and going into security that they'll never see, because they're economic refugees, Social Security would be bankrupt.