Why immigration reform could have helped Homeland Security official - and the economy

Odd news from Boston where a former official for the US Department of Homeland Security was convicted of encouraging her illegal immigrant housekeeper to remain in the country.

Lorraine Henderson, 52, used to be the $140,000-a-year job port director in Bean Town for Customs and Border Protection.

And even Henderson was unsure about whether or not her housekeeper was illegal or not.

"I didn’t think we had the authority to ask her if she was legal,’’ Henderson testified.

She was talking about her housekeeper Fabiana Bitencourt who occasionally cleaned Henderson's house for about $75.

It is not a crime to hire an illegal immigrant for occasional domestic work, but it is a felony to encourage them to stay in the U.S.

A neighbor and DHS colleague reported Henderson when she (the neighbor) discovered that Bitencourt was illegal.

Bitencourt wore a wire to record Henderson's response when Bitencourt told her she was here illegally.

Bitencourt testified earlier this month that she told Henderson she needed immigration advice and said she had come from Brazil, without a visa, seven years earlier.

“Wow,’’ said Henderson. “You can’t leave. Don’t leave . . . ’Cause once you leave, you will never come back."

There's something funny about the whole story but what really caught my attention was this line buried in the news report.

Bitencourt (who was being paid $75 for her cleaning) paid $10,000 to be smuggled in from Brazil in 2001.

Immigrants are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to come here and work menial jobs.

Isn't there a way America can benefit from this influx of labor and cash?

Wouldn't immigration reform make sense and make money for the country?

What do you think?


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