Man says illegal immigrants are ruining his business
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- President Obama's immigration plan brings a debate back to the forefront that has raged on for years -- a debate with very strong opinions on both sides.Immigration is an emotional issue. That's in part why the broken system hasn't been overhauled in two decades. But we met a local businessman who is passionate about the subject because he says it affects his very livelihood.
Drew Evans says it's tough for him to compete for work as a building contractor because he's playing on an unlevel field.
"I would say that 70, 60 to 70 percent of the guys that do what I do use illegals," said Evans.
He says he loses job after job because he can't out-price someone who hires illegal workers. He doesn't blame the workers. He blames the competitors and the government.
"Securing the border, first and foremost, has to be the main thing," said Evans.
Evans says it's not just him who's losing out. Across the service industry, Americans don't get what immigration laws are really costing them.
"I bought my first car on lawn mowing money," Evans said. "I defy a kid to try to do that now. You can't compete with these guys that dump five illegals on your front lawn, mow the grass for 25 bucks and are gone, or the men that are busing their tables. OK, yeah, the restaurants are getting cheap labor, but my gosh, we're paying for it in the end."
On Thursday, President Obama acknowledged what Evans has known for a long time.
"In sum, the system is broken," he said. "And everybody knows it."
And in calling for immigration reform, he spoke right to the problem plaguing Evans.
"We cannot continue just to look the other way as a significant portion of our economy operates outside the law," said President Obama. "It breeds abuse and bad practices. It punishes employers who act responsibly and undercuts American workers."
But the fix is a lot easier said than done.
"This has been such a contentious issue and so divisive," said immigration attorney Gordon Quan.
Quan says the politics in Washington won't make reform easy.
"Most agree border security needs to be improved," said Quan. "Visa quotas need to be improved. I think 70 percent of the proposed legislation everybody agrees upon. It's the 30 percent about what you do with the 11 million people who are undocumented."
As for Evans, he is sick of the politics from both parties. He just wants results, before he's driven out of business for doing the right thing.
immigration, president barack obama, local, tom abrahams
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