Re: Immigrants & Code Enforcement

by Steven F. Hayward

Re: The situation Rod describes below (several Hispanic families living in a single house) is a long-time phenomenon out here in California, partly, I have always thought, a result of California’s sky-high housing costs, which are driven by excessive regulation and powerful anti-growth sentiment, of course. We have long had the same kind of social problems that come with overcrowded housing.

It is dismaying to hear this is spreading to Texas. One reason I thought Gov. Bush did better than California Republicans with Hispanic voters (besides some important demographic differences between California and Texas Hispanics) is that in Texas there is more opportunity for hard-working Hispanics to get decent housing at an affordable cost, start a small business without oppressive state and local regulation, etc.

I suspect you will find that many such multi-family households are a mixture of legal and illegal immigrants. Out here on the California coast, my yard maintenance service is owned by a long-time, locally prosperous Hispanic businessman (obviously a citizen), but when his crew shows up (as they did this morning with their weed-machines and leaf blowers at 7:45 a.m.–grrrrr), I am very doubtful that many are legal immigrants. But even more mysterious is where these people live. My summer address is in a very expensive and isolated part of the California central coast, where there is little rental housing and the lowest-priced single family home on the market is over $400,000 (the average price about twice that.) Here and there I will see a small, old dilapidated house with a small, older auto fleet parked at and around it; that where the Hispanic service employees live, in a house probably owned by the Hispanic businessman they work for. The local authorities look the other way for some reason on the code violations; they only seem to come after me with my plans to add on to my deck. Meanwhile, the local building moratorium (don’t get me started) was recently lifted so that Habitat for Humanity could build one (1) affordable unit here in town.

(P.S.–Rod: This is where I practice my own brand of “crunchy-con-ism.” After I finish my daily quota of writing, I’m heading off to go sea-kayaking, unless the surf is up, which is looks like out the window right now, in which case I’ll go surfing instead. I always get suspicious looks for my short hair at the local surf spots.)

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