Talk about fighting the wrong battle. Liberal Democrats, labor unions, immigrant advocates, and open border enthusiasts have made a cause celebre out of those immigration raids at meatpacking plants.
In one of the most recent operations on May 12, in the tiny town of Postville, IA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents apprehended nearly 400 illegal immigrant workers — most of them from Guatemala — at Agriprocessors Inc., the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant. About 250 were charged with identity theft and — having waived their right to be tried by a grand jury — immediately convicted to five months in prison. Many others were deported.
Speaking to the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza, Barack Obama lamented a situation “when communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids — when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel.”
With the 15-hour shifts, the smell, blood, grueling work, and dangerous conditions, it is no wonder that illegal immigrants are the only ones taking these jobs. Certainly, American teenagers and 20-somethings want nothing to do with work like this — or, if we’re honest, most other types of work — no matter what it pays.
That’s one of the big lies that immigration restrictionists keep repeating in the hopes that the rest of us start believing it — that the problem is one of low wages and that Americans would rush out and do the crummiest of jobs if the salary were decent.
Baloney. Americans have moved beyond these types of jobs. Grandpa and Grandma may have done them, but their grandkids prefer to keep them at arm’s length. So these jobs wind up being done by illegal immigrants — who, while they lack documents, have plenty of will, a fire in their belly, and a strong work ethic.
That being the case, I can see why liberals on the left feel as though they must come to the defense of those rounded up in workplace raids. After all, these are people doing jobs that Americans won’t do. Certainly, say critics of the raids, those who were apprehended deserve better than to be separated from their children, herded like cattle, and shackled and paraded into court where they are accused of crimes they don’t even understand.
If anyone deserves to be treated like that it’s the employers who often get off scot-free. At the Agriprocessors plant, former employees accuse supervisors of engaging in everything from sexual harassment to violations of child labor laws.
Americans will put up with none of that, but we should also continue the raids. These people broke one law when they entered the country illegally and broke another when they used fake documents to secure employment. They have to be punished for their crimes, and the just punishment is not this “identity theft” nonsense but deportation to whatever country they came from.
Then what? Immigration restrictionists seem to think that, once a company is raided and illegal immigrants deported, the problem will fix itself. Wages will automatically go up, and Americans will magically flock to take the same jobs at which they’ve long turned up their noses.
Let’s see. In fact, wages have gone up slightly at Postville since the raid. Jobs that were once going for $7.25 now pay nearly twice that. And who’s taking those jobs? Not Americans. Are you kidding? It’s a new immigrant group — Somalis, dozens of whom are now moving from Minnesota to Iowa to work in the meat packing industry.
Of course they are. The characters may come and go, but the story never changes.