On September 21, professional immigration enthusiast/illegal alien employer Linda Chavez wrote in her syndicated column:
"I wondered in part because I saw so few Hispanic faces among those stranded at the Superdome and Convention Center. Yet I knew that many Hispanics lived in New Orleans, occupying the same service jobs they do elsewhere, often on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Most are immigrants—often illegal—from Honduras and Mexico.
"Then, just when I thought they were nowhere to be found, I spotted a few Hispanic men in the television footage this week of crews cleaning up the debris that has overwhelmed so much of the Gulf Coast. Wherever they went to escape the storm, they're back—because there is work to be done, and they are eager to do dirty jobs that many others shun.
"I wonder if these images will sink in with the anti-immigrant crowd that imagines that Mexicans come to the United States looking for a handout." [Hispanics and Katrina, Townhall.com]"Anti-immigrant crowd"? Who could that be?
It must be the huge majority of the American people (91 percent) who believe that mass immigration is a "critical" or "important" threat to the country in the next decade.
That's a crowd.
Chavez went on to say,
But for those who are illegally in the U.S., no federal help will be forthcoming. Illegal aliens are ineligible for the $2,000-per-family emergency cash, food stamps, job placement, and other federal assistance offered to Katrina's victims—rightly so.Actually anyone in the US illegally is entitled to one benefit: a plane or bus ticket home to Mexico, where it's dry and warm. Illegals have continued to sponge off federal and state benefits, and Ms. Chavez has even been heard to state that it would be "unconstitutional" to stop them.
But her prediction that Mexican illegals would be doing a lot of the clean-up is coming true.
Recently Ray Nagin, the now-notorious African-American Mayor of New Orleans said something that a white mayor would not have said: "How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?" [Immigrants Rush to New Orleans as Contractors Fight for Workers By Peter Pae, LA Times, October 10, 2005]
President Bush's lifting of the Davis-Bacon act restrictions on workers has drawn some criticism. Arguably, if we were just talking about American workers, and American tax dollars, it could be a good thing. There's no need to tie up the rebuilding in red tape, or give control of it to the unions.
But if it means the importation of massive amounts of illegal cheap labor, that's different.
This is especially true if it involves refusal to enforce the law at the highest levels of the Administration—as reported by the Wall Street Journal:
"In early September, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would temporarily relax its policies and not prosecute contractors who don't check the legal status of workers.
"While not necessarily a suspension of immigration law, the department made the move 'to make sure that people who are otherwise able to work, and now need employment, wouldn't be stopped from working,' said Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. The measure expires in mid-October." [Roundup of Immigrants in Shelter Reveals Rising Tensions By Chad Terhune And Evan Pérez, The Wall Street Journal October 3, 2005]The WSJ story reveals that local police in Long Beach, Mississippi were concerned that the Red Cross shelter, meant to help victims of the hurricane, was being used as a base camp by "workers brought in from other areas" who should have been housed by their employers.
Police were also "concerned about reports of drinking, marijuana use and fights among Hispanic men living in tents outside the shelter building." (My italics.)
"The incident [i.e. police checking for illegals] was confirmed by the shelter's staff, including an assistant shelter manager and volunteer Jesse A. Acosta, who said he, too, was asked by a local police officer to show identification. After flashing his Red Cross badge, Mr. Acosta, a former Marine who served in Vietnam, was told to show another form of ID and then had to wait 20 minutes while being screened for outstanding arrest warrants. The line of men, women and children included no whites or African-Americans, he said.
"'I was singled out because of my skin,' Mr. Acosta said. 'These people went through Katrina and went there to be taken care of and not to be hassled.'"One might normally sympathize with a Mexican-American mistaken for an illegal immigrant by the authorities—and point out that it's because of the huge flood of illegals encouraged by Washington. But this case is different.
Mr. Acosta is deliberately engaged in harboring illegals. Sympathy is inappropriate.
The real issue: if the Administration continues to refuse to enforce immigration law, the results, in terms of the effects on local American workers, and especially the unemployed victims of the disaster, will be a further catastrophe.
Professor Carol M. Swain, who has a different and frequently somewhat clearer view of modern American race relations than Linda Chavez, wrote an op-ed on the threat to members of her own, African-American, race.
"In the next few years, we can expect greater competition for jobs, educational opportunities, housing and food. This increased competition will certainly increase the ethnic and racial tensions that characterize the many parts of the country where blacks and illegal residents compete for the same limited resources.
'However, it is not clear that black Americans will have any significant advantage over illegal residents in this competition. Already, many major newspapers and commentators refer to the Americans displaced by Katrina as refugees, not citizens, a term usually reserved for people from foreign nations who seek refuge because of persecution or natural disasters. Additionally, recent history demonstrates that blacks will not fare well if whites have to choose between them and illegals of other races." [Predictable Cries of Racism Miss Larger Point, Sept. 11, 2005, The Tennessean]This is the problem for African-Americans. And it's not going to be very good for white Americans, either.
Linda Chavez [email her] ended her column this way:
"It's hard to imagine now with the scars of Hurricane Katrina still fresh, but my bet is that the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast will be a boon to Hispanics in the region. There will be plenty of jobs to go around, and, as always, immigrants will be among the first lining up to do them. It's too bad Congress hasn't done its job as well, passing genuine immigration reform that would let more immigrants come legally to do those very jobs."Immigrants doing jobs Americans used to have, rebuilding communities where they used to live, and paid for by the American taxpayer.
That's Linda Chavez's vision for the future.
But not ours—or America's.