Monday, October 22, 2007

2007 in Enforcement: Business in the Bullseye

Back on August 9th, ICE -- U.S. Customs and Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- released a five page memo euphamistacally entitled "Protecting National Security and Upholding Public Safety".  The memo, signed off by Asst. Secretary of Homeland Security Julie L. Myers, attempts to stamp the administration's current employer-sanctions initiative with the seal of "national security" and "Public safety".  Consider the proud list of raids detailed within and see how much safer you feel from Al Qaeda:



-Fresh Del Monte Produce 160 farmer workers rounded up with fake social security and other documents; each faces, according to the memo, up to 15 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine...roughly one fruit picker's earnings over 112 years the GNP of his village in Sonora (when combined with the next 15 villages in the vicinity.)



-George's Processing Plant- 136 southwest Mississippi chicken-pluckers/gutters/cleaners/packagers.  Of those, one was charged with "being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm".   Sounds like Al Qaeda to me.



I could go on and enumerate the other 10 raids proudly hailed as "protecting our national security" , but it doesn't seem worth the tedious effort:  the dining room wait staff, landscapers, pork processors, sweatshop seamstresses, cleaning crews, hotel maids, etc. which make up the balance of those arrested and placed in criminal proceedings didn't really sound like, uh, terrorists.



Should U.S. immigration laws be enforced?  Absolutely!  Should employers who willfully violate such laws be sanctioned?  By all means.



Should the administration take a deep breath, regroup, and rethink its policy of linking chicken pluckers with national security in its wholly incredulous attempt to justify its heavy-handed intrusion on private sector employers while offering them no viable means of legalizing their workforces, made up of mostly decent foreigners willing to do the work you and I prefer not to do?



I think so.  The whole WMD fiction that got us into Iraq is now hitting even closer to home, and no lawn, hotel room, or unpicked tomato in America will be safe until someone slaps this sadly chaotic administration upside the head with a wake up call for sane solution which doesn't villanize employers of low-skill laborers and the workforces upon which the depend.



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