You should do well never to underestimate NPR’s talent for blowing the lid off a big international story fueled by social outrage. As ever, NPR’s locution-challenged announcer Carl Kasell had a banner morning in the 7am news cycle introducing incisive stories about how the Jacob Javits center is attracting more cabbies to the West Side by offering them free coffee and, oh, happy day, a free tinkle in the center’s rest rooms. But it was only when the focus shifted to Spain that NPR’s true interntaional solidarity showed:
Immigration in Spain, NPR could breathlessly tell us, is raging out of control in the formerly impoverished EU vacation destination el mejor. The reason: the country’s recent economic boom and nice weather are drawing record numbers of immigrants, and the local pols are squabbling about how to handle it. One proposed solution: The State will offer amnesty to illegals who have lived there at least six months.
To illustrate just how hard it is for the recently immigrated, the intrepid NPR reporter had collared two Equadorian nannies who complained that “there is a big problem with Social Security.” I.e., if they want to become legal, they and their employer have to come up with another $100 a month to cover the administrative expenses and taxes.
Right. Forgive us for saying this, but if NPR trained its socially conscious microphone on most Upper East Side households and asked the Swedish au pairs and latina maids how a six-month amnesty sounded, we’re pretty sure that $100 is one-tenth what they just paid their lawyer to keep their hopeless immigration case alive with the INS for another six weeks with no end in sight.
So the true lesson all put-upon New York City nannies and au pairs can draw from NPR’s drumroll-fueled item is this: Go to Spain. And in six months, Ronald Perelman and Nan Kempner will be doing their own laundry. Think about that when you munch olives and drink red wine.