No word on whither low wages should this "underground economy" go legit via government amnesty. Maybe that's because just talking about amnesty boosts the numbers of illegal aliens trying to get into the country. The article does go on to offer an inadvertent inkling as to why this black-market for labor exists in the first place, and why it is so vehemently defended, particularly by American elites.
The insight shows up in a vignette about Arlene, an "undocumented nanny."
She not only takes care of the kids, the paper notes, but "she'll make breakfast, change diapers and keep up with afternoon play dates ... wash your laundry, clean the apartment and cook dinner for you when you get home." Says Arlene: "The parents really depend on it. ... We literally make it possible for them to work."
Them? No, Arlene makes it possible for the mother to work. The "underground economy" is actually the backbone of the three-career family: working Dad, working Mom and working Nanny. In other words, defending the illegal economy isn't just an expression of the To-the-McMansion-Born attitude of the nouveau riche. There is also the strong possibility that the more affluent sector of society -- the dual-income family of the upper-middle class -- couldn't exist without it.
The impact of immigration law enforcement, then, goes beyond national security and cultural identity: It goes to the heart of the American family. Without the "undocumented nanny" to fall back on, many middle-class parents would have to stay home. Such a shift would have untold repercussions, not least of which would be on the little one. Without two-career parental largesse, he might actually grow into the kind of teenager who is willing to work hard and cheap -- busing tables, washing cars, working construction and cutting grass. In short, the model young citizen.