Even noted Times lefty Paul Krugman can’t quite figure out the right solution to the impending American immigration problem — all we know is that New York has always been a city of immigrants, and if you removed all the illegal workers in one fell swoop, everything would shut down. Some of the cabs might stop too…
Where I hailed him: Chelsea Where he hails from: The Bronx Years as a cabbie: 20 Previous profession: Musician
A lot of my colleagues are immigrants, and I know they’ve had issues with the INS. Especially after 2001, those guys have really been sweating it. It seems like this new bill would make it harder on them — in getting their families over here and so on. I know a bunch of them don’t have their papers right. They could get deported, and for what? Working? Working 12-hour days driving rich people around? I’m one of the few native-born Americans that do this. Am I worried about an immigrant taking my job? Not at all! I do what I do.
AMHED Where I hailed him: West VIllage Where he hails from: Egypt Years as a cabbie: Several years Previous profession: Grocery store clerk
In fact I don’t know all the details, but it seems to me that the government does not know what they want to do. The government can control the number of people that they want to come into the country — that is their right. But to let people work without any benefits and with very low pay the way they are is not good. I don’t know if they’re worried about people crossing the border for terrorism, but anyone who comes here will not be trouble, they just want to make a good life for themselves. And the jobs they do, the American people really don’t want to do them. It’s like driving a cab. I would say that almost 90 percent of drivers are immigrants. Sometimes I wonder that if there are no more Pakistanis and Asians around, who will drive the cabs?
MOHA MMED Where I hailed him: Gramercy Where he hails from: Bangladesh Years as a cabbie: 14 Previous profession: Deli clerk
I believe that the laws are stricter than they were before. It is harder to get in now. I think it’s definitely harder to get in since when I came. I don’t know about the new laws, though. I don’t know what they are saying. I don’t have time to read the paper. I’m just working and driving. You probably know better than me.
HASSAN Where I hailed him: West Village Where he hails from: Sudan Years as a cabbie: 12 Previous profession: Truck driver
I am now a citizen. I took the classes and they swore me in last year. [Congratulations!] Yes, thank you. It was hard! The English, the history. But it was worth it. Now they can’t tell me to go home. I only hope they don’t make things any stricter. This country has been good to me — America — the great melting pot, right! How can they not welcome immigrants? Look at this city. How do you think it runs? Hard workers like me. Hard workers from everywhere. How about yourself? Who in your family are immigrants? You see — everyone is from somewhere else.
NAME WITHELD Where I hailed him: Murray Hill Where he hails from: Ghana Years as a cabbie: 6 Previous profession: Witheld
The idea of amnesty I agree with. Now that the government is so worried about fighting terrorism, it makes sense that it would be good to have everyone with a legal status so that they would be able to know where everyone is. I am against the guest worker program, though. I think that the companies who brought the workers over would have too much control over them. They could make them work for very low pay or else be sent back — it would be like slavery. I don’t know what it is like on the Mexican border, but where I come from it is not very easy to get into this country.