The Corner

Cheap Labor Disorder

Most of the time there’s a certain logic to people employing illegal-alien servants: Middle-class people can live beyond their normal means, kind of like a colonial bureaucrat or a Saudi citizen. But then there are cases that are clearly pathological, people who can afford normal pay and benefits but simply choose not to.

A story like that came to light recently, where an unnamed illegal alien from India was confined to the home of a wealthy Indian family in upstate New York, until ICE agents acting on a tip about a “forced labor situation” paid a visit. She was originally the servant of a U.N. employee, and although foreign diplomats in the U.S. enslaving their servants has become quite routine, she was apparently able to leave and come work for the late Mathai Kolath George and his wife Annie. (When she left the job with the U.N. employee, she violated the terms of her G-5 visa and became an illegal alien, though it looks like she didn’t realize that at the time.) She was promised the princely sum of $1,000 a month for cooking, cleaning, and caring for the six children (which, considering the 17-hour days, was already below minimum wage), but wasn’t paid anything close to that, and all the money was wired to her family in India. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house, was never taken to the doctor, had no days off, and slept in a closet. As loathsome as that is, what makes it almost unbelievable is that she wasn’t imprisoned in a suburban McMansion, but a real mansion:

The George family moved into the 34-room, five-bedroom, 10-bathroom Llenroc in August 2008. The grandiose dwelling is set above the Mohawk River and has a helicopter pad, 15 fireplaces, an indoor swimming pool and ceilings gilded in 24-karat gold.

And they couldn’t afford to pay the nanny minimum wage?


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