Immigration crackdown to impact storm recovery
Houston faces a flooding crisis of proportions that emergency response officials say they’ve never seen. The nation’s fourth-largest city will spend months recovering and rebuilding. President Donald Trump visited Corpus Christi and Autin on Tuesday . ... Anyone in Texas who has experienced weather disasters knows the recovery effort is one where immigrant labor plays an essential role.
Last week, Trump threatened to shut down the government if funding for a border wall isn’t included in the spending package that Congress must approve by Sept. 30. Trump’s threat would mean the federal aid spigot for Houston could be turned off in the middle of the recovery effort. That would anger even hardline Texas Republicans.
Trump feels so strongly about his immigration crackdown that, just as Hurricane Harvey was making landfall Friday, he pardoned former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio gained national infamy by defying federal court orders and rounding up Latinos simply because they looked like they might be undocumented migrants . ...
Houston has the third-largest population of undocumented immigrants in the country, according to the Pew Research Center . ... Go to any construction site in Houston, and the language being spoken will be Spanish first and English second. The kinds of labor Houstonians will most need the next few months will be roofers and drywall removal and installation workers.
Ask any construction contractor — thousands will be flocking soon to Houston — how the recovery effort works, and they’ll recite a complicated formula that hinges entirely on the narrow reimbursement margins allowed by insurance companies. To make it all work at prices that Houston homeowners can afford, cheap immigrant labor is a requirement. Even the conservative Texas Association of Business concedes as much . ...
Houston is where Trump’s Make America Great Again boasts slam up against hard economic reality. He can choose between an immigration crackdown or a more rapid recovery. But he can’t have both.