The Page One January 17, 2007 Wall Street Journal story entitled "Reversal of Fortune—An immigration raid aids blacks for a time" charts a transition which to immigration reform-minded Americans makes infinite good sense.
It tells about the aftermath of "raids by federal immigration agents on Labor Day weekend, a local chicken-processing company called Crider Inc. lost 75% of its mostly Hispanic 900-member work force. The crackdown threatened to cripple the economic anchor of this fading rural town" of Stillmore, Georgia. [VDARE.COM note: While this story may cost money to read at the WSJ site, they've licensed the story to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which has it free—An immigration raid aids blacks for a time, January 17, 2007 By Evan Perez and Corey Dade]
Since the 1990s, this company had enjoyed the use of a predominantly illegal work force, doubtless with great profitability. Now, however,
"for local African-Americans, the dramatic appearance of federal agents presented an unexpected opportunity. Crider suddenly raised pay at the plant. An advertisement in the weekly Forest-Blade newspaper blared "Increased Wages" at Crider, starting at $7 to $9 an hour—more than a dollar above what the company had paid many immigrant workers. The company began offering free transportation from nearby towns and free rooms in a company-owned dormitory near to the plant. For the first time in years, local officials say, Crider aggressively sought workers from the area's state-funded employment office—a key avenue for low-skilled workers to find jobs. Of 400 candidates sent to Crider—most of them black—the plant hired about 200."
Don't misunderstand me, I am not against mechanization and this will rapidly change the need for workers, but at least in this all-too-rare instance, Americans (in this case poor ones) are getting the kind of jobs that Bush and his ilk claim Americans won't do.
The hell they won't. Just pay them a fair wage.
This Journal article by the way fascinates me. It is well written by a reporter who has done a most thorough job of telling this complex story.
Example: Poor Mr. Purdle, Crider's likely-not-poor President, told an interviewer that "Crider never knowingly violated US immigration laws."
But one person at Crider, who hired one illegal alien, helped the applicant falsify her Social Security Number. And, gee, the company according the innocent Mr. Purdle "was
"taken aback when federal agents showed up in May asserting that about 700 of its workers were suspected of having false work documents".
The fact that "Two Crider employees were among four men arrested for allegedly running a document mill, churning out fake green cards and other fake documents" does somewhat undermine his story of surprise.
However, let's understand that this process of getting legal and getting real about immigration is going to take time and adjustment! In fairness, the article notes, "Immigration officials initially worked with Crider over several months to gradually weed out those workers who couldn't prove legal worker status. Then, federal officials became much more aggressive, launching the raid over Labor Day weekend. Agents hauled away about 120 mostly Mexican immigrants, according to immigration officials." Bravo.
This illegal alien problem is like a cancer. Here is a plant where management had become addicted to the cocaine of cheap labor. So instead of investing in automation–there must be machinery that can help this processing–management did what our Congress has done for far too long–it took the easy money and looked the other way.
A country that prides itself on the Rule of Law is descending into an abyss of bribery and chaos which over time will turn us into the kind of socialist banana republics that are resurgent in Latin America.
Why? Because the rich got so rich and indifferent, greedy and lazy about enforcing the process of honorable government, one that has produced the DeLays and the Cunninghams and the cancer of payola in the form of lobbyists such as Jack Abramoff.
This Journal piece dwells for a long column on labor problems in the plant, but of course such disputes are common. The gripe that desperate-for-work illegal aliens often work harder than American citizens, who make production at the Crider plant lower than before with higher labor costs, certainly seems to make a case for increasing investment in better machinery. This is especially true since Crider claims every now to be "still about 300 people short of its work force before the immigration raids. It is now bringing Laotian Hmong immigrant workers and their families from Minnesota and Wisconsin, with hopes that they'll stay on the job and build new roots in Stillmore."
Recall these poor Asian workers, including many others from Vietnam, were part of the legacy of America's earlier foreign adventures. There will be another flood of refugees from Iraq and other nations in the Middle East, which will further complicate a process which could have been handled so much more smoothly—if the infamous 1965 immigration reform legislation had not passed.
This story shows that reform, real reform, can happen. I don't care how many sob stories about poor, worthy, hardworking illegal immigrants you want to throw in the faces of American citizens. Unless we fix the laws, not by keeping authorizing more and more cheap labor with so called "comprehensive immigration reform", we will never properly address our own burgeoning the population growth problem.
The Chinese well understood limitation of numbers were necessary and took steps to deal with the mess Mao left. The results were regards as repressive and undemocratic, but the reduction in numbers achieved has opened an entire new day in that behemoth, now so effectively becoming a competing Super Power to the US.
This surge of Hispanic peoples suggests that Latin America's problems are insoluble, but like so many developing nations around the globe, no solution can come without restricting population growth on this planet. One author notes that "The Latin American continent would very likely produce remarkable and gratifying results" with a policy of reproductive restraint, which I believe would quickly relieve present pressures on the US.
The United States, by continuing to import slave labor mostly from Latin America, who will ultimately become an even larger drag on our tax supported resources, will insure the further erosion of our precious Rule of Law and bring on the steady decline of our country—reminiscent of the fate of Ancient Rome.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.