India Orders Troops to Border to Deter American Workers

NEW DELHI – 56,000 troops mobilized to India’s northwestern border were sent there not as a show of force to Pakistan, as originally reported, but to stop a growing influx of American workers illegally entering the country.

Since April of 2009, an estimated 150,000 textile, IT, and call center workers from North America have made the long, treacherous journey through the nearly impassible mountain range skirting Afghanistan to reclaim thousands of jobs sent abroad by cost-cutting American corporations such as Hewlitt Packard, AT&T, and Sprint. The Indian service sector accounts for 38% of employment in the nation, second only to agriculture. So far, the troops have rounded up dozens of illegal border crossers, sending them back over the mountains from where they came.

The U.S. State Department has warned the Americans, known here as “the Dockers” for a common brand of apparel, not to put themselves and the people of the region “in harm’s way,” but it has done little to stop them. “These are tough times,” said one U.S. state department employee who requested anonymity. “They figure that rather than send out 30 resumes and cover letters a day to companies that don’t want them, it’s easier to spend three months navigating the mountains, hostile tribal militias and the Afghan war zone to get their jobs back.”

Pakistan has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations about the Docker incursion. 

“We don’t know who they are or what their business,” said immigration official Panish Deshwan. “We don’t want any troublemakers inside our borders, even if they’re only here to make shirts for WalMart. So we’re relying on Washington to fight them in America so we don’t have to fight them here.”
The Dockers have brought with them an increase in crime and filthy, overcrowded living conditions, with 15-20 workers occupying a single hut without running water. 

“It’s not so bad,” explained Parker Williams, 30, a Docker from San Diego. “It reminds me of college.” Dockers have been arrested for such crimes as petty theft and the illegal manufacture of “bathtub” energy drinks.

Indian officials have been somewhat more compassionate but no less strident in their opposition. “We do understand the plight of the American worker. Why should they stay in their own country and earn nothing when they could be making as much as $1.20 per day here?” said Mitesh Parwhali, who runs a high tech Dell Computer call center in Kanpur. While the majority of Dockers are a hardworking and peaceful group, Parwhali says that they are culturally isolated, spending their off hours in makeshift work centers playing Texas Hold’em and watching YouTube on their laptop computers.

India is the world’s most populated country per square mile, with nearly a billion people competing for clean water, food, and jobs. Some officials accused the Americans of having babies there just to create an anchor for their residency, dramatically shifting the demographics of the Indian caste system and creating a new, impossible-to-categorize strata of polo-shirted, single-malt scotch drinking outcasts whose cheerful jargon of “win-win,” “no worries,” and “at the end of the day” frustrates the local residents.

A large percentage of the income earned by the Americans is sent home to support loved ones impoverished by the relentless economic downturn and dismantling of the country’s once formidable middle class. “We’re good workers,” said John Dunstan, 42, of Mill Valley, California. “We have families and dreams, too. We show up on time, keep Microsoft’s customers happy, and aren’t impossible to understand on the phone.”

Debbie Kalliakis, a former textile worker in North Carolina before the industry’s once robust economy fizzled, now hems and sews buttons and collar stays on shirts for Van Heusen’s international manufacturing division. “It’s 7 am to 9 p.m, and my vision is officially shot, all for 75 cents an hour and no benefits except for our 15-minute curried rice breaks. We do the jobs Indians don’t want to do,” Kalliakis, 37, said, rubbing her red, swollen eyes. “What I wouldn’t give for a facial.”

Indians have expressed mixed feelings about the Dockers. “We understand their plight,” said Indian National Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, “but they are taxing our already paper-thin public assistance system. They’re welcome to become legal citizens, although with a billion or so people we’re not exactly recruiting.”

“Their own country should take care of them, not us,” said call center worker Sharad Singh. “They bring all their bad habits here to our culture. We really don’t care that they used to have a timeshare in Lake Placid. My whole family washes in the same plastic tub.”

Bill Enderbee, 48, one of only 23 survivors of a trek through the Hindu Kush that began with 100 optimistic workers, wonders if the trip was worth it. “We fought off a dozen attacks from angry regional tribes while carrying our worldly belongings in pushcarts,” he said, staring flatly at the horizon. 

“I saw things no guy from Anaheim should ever see. And for what? To sew ears on Minnie Mouse hats in a sweatshop in Jodhpur? When I worked for HP, I used to buy those hats for my kids every summer and not think a thing of it. Now I’m getting a first-hand education in the word ‘suck.’ But, hey, I made my quota for Thursday, so ‘yay, me.’”

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has made no formal statement about the Dockers, but said in an interview with The Daily Beast that American workers “may be the best new hope for bringing India’s economy to a new level of productivity.”  Still, the Americans are viewed with contempt and suspicion.

“Sixty years ago we cast off the yoke of ‘jolly-this, jolly-that’ colonialism,” said Singh. “We’re not about to conform to the customs and laws of people who feel the need to fist-bump every two minutes.”

Happy Labor Day!


  1. What's the weather like on your planet? Where your mind must go to come up with these funny and topical subjects......


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