Swift Boat Meat Packers For Bush (political cartoon)

click to enlarge

In a previous dKos diary I discussed some of the human rights issues associated with illegal immigration.

Wait, let me back up... I use the term illegal alien to describe people in this country illegally. I use the term undocumented worker to describe the kid down the block who mows lawns and doesn't pay taxes. Illegal alien is an immigration thing, undocumented worker is a black market thing. Of course there are people in this country who fit both descriptions - illegal aliens working in the black market, but I am sticking with illegal alien as a description since I am discussing illegal aliens who are both paying taxes, using stolen identities or just totally off the grid.

As if any of this needed an exclamation point, we got Swift & Company. Last week, raids on the meat processing plants raised havoc on the company and the people that worked there. When you arrest more than 1300 people in a single community, mass disruption ensues. Single parents couldn't take care of their kids, families were torn apart and a general disintegration of community developed.

This week the events in Greely Colorado continue to unfold.

"It’s not fair to have these people come here, pay them, then kick them around politically," said attorney Robert McCormick, representing some of the detainees. "It makes no sense. There’s a reason people come here, that is the demand for labor."

Karina Miranda is 24, married just two weeks. Her husband, Jose Mendoza was scooped up in the raid. Miranda is left with two children, no job, little money and lots of questions.

Like her husband, Miranda is here illegally. She paid a transporter $2,000 to lead her and her daughter, Litzy, now seven, on a three-day march across the Arizona desert last year. She doesn't have the papers to get a job or to get inside a federal detention center to see her husband.

I totally understand why these people come here but what I don't understand is why the Federal Government permits it. We do little to prevent their access to the border, we do little to punish employers who use these people for what amounts to slaves and then we take it out on the illegal aliens when we get off our ass to enforce the weak laws we have on the books.

And our government's idiocy cuts both ways.

Even for those working legally, like 25-year-old hometown Swift worker Evie Alexis Mezney, the raid has had an impact. Suddenly short 261 workers, Mezney said the company posted red fliers on the doors, advising crews they’d be working a weekend shift in addition to the expanded 10-hour shifts they were already on.


Outside the plant, she said there’s resentment. Some who lost family threatened her for not quitting in protest, she said.

‘‘I need the money,’’ she said.

There is one thing guaranteed. In Bush's economy, everyone needs the money.


I have a sense I'm in the minority here

but I feel our immigration laws need to be enforced and employers of illegal aliens need to be severely punished. This country will never be in control of it's own destiny if people can continue to cross our borders without our knowledge and approval. My heart goes out to those who came here illegally looking for a better life and who've been scooped up to be returned to their home nations..perhaps leaving behind a spouse and child. On the other hand, they knew what they were doing when they came...and it is we, the American taxpayer, who is taking a big hit...all the while millions of our poorest citizens cannot receive assistance they need due to funding shortfalls.

These problems can be solved...like so many other of our problems...if only men and women of good will and integrity would put their minds to finding solutions that address the problems realistically yet with reasonable compassion.

Some days I almost go crazy listening to the bullshit that emanates out of Washington. It's as though our elected representatives have gone absolutely brain dead...or refuse to see anything except through politically polarized glasses.

Stan Bozarth

The problem is

that you can't start over. We created this problem, we allowed them to come into the country, now we're upset they are here? We literally CANNOT FUNCTION without the "illegal aliens" in the US. What we need to do is fix the problem in situ, and at the same time create a better immigration policy.

Personally, the United States was made great because we allowed poor immigrants to come here and work for next to nothing. When we quit allowing these people into our country, we lose that competitive edge. We lose people like my ancestors, your ancestors, pretty much everyone's ancestors.
I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I'm not sure who "we" is

and I'm not sure we can't function without the illegal aliens. The stats I've reviewed indicate that less than 20% of those employed in every industry sector are illegal immigrants. And we could, for example, in agribusiness, easily raise (close to double) the wages of farm workers to a living wage at a cost of only about $20-30/year to the average American family. If we did so, then those jobs would attract citizen workers.

I agree we need to fix the policy and that we were made great by allowing poor LEGAL immigrants to come here. Nan's great grandmother came here from Ireland as an indentured servant to a wealthy family in CT.

Robert, I see your point and feel your passion on this. If fixing the problem in situ includes a comprehensive review of backgrounds and deportation of criminals ...and a firm policy on the requirements for achieving citizenship, I can go with it. In the meantime...the problem simply gets worse. And, I can't call to mind any large numbers of these illegal immigrants saying they're here because they want to become Americans. They just talk about earning money, sending it "home" and appear to feel they're entitled to the largess funded by you and me and other taxpayers.

Like I said...I'm likely in the minority on this subject.

Stan Bozarth

I saw an interview on NPR.

It was a farmer who ran a network in SC that hired ONLY documented workers. It took them all year to find documented workers to fill the spots for a handful of farms in SC. Even then, they try to bring in many times what htey need, because they don't get them all. So, I would say that "hyopthetically" it might only raise food prices by $20 or $30, but only if you actually have people to do the pickin', which is far from certain.
I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Not the only one Stan

I know you aren't advocating inhumane treatment.

We are a nation of laws. We don't get to pick and choose which ones we follow. We don't get to make exceptions just because one industry/employer or another wants cheap labor and they aren't an industry/employer that can pick up and move to another country.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The issue is so complex

and one to which we all have to give serious thought. The immigrants that I feel the most compassion for are the children who come with their parents, or the ones who are actually born here - and are, by virtue of that fact, citizens. If we look at this as a black and white issue, we could be faced with the prospect of deporting the parents of a three-year-old citizen. I can't see the value in that. There must be a way to establish citizenship for those who wish to do so; who wish to stay here - if their children are here, etc. If someone is willing to pay their back taxes, and become a legal part of the system, I think they should have the opportunity to do so. Other thoughts about immigration and legality:

  • I don't believe that anyone should be denied compassionate care (emergency services, etc.) based upon their residency/citizenship status.
  • I am actually in favor of everyone having a driver's license, because I would like to be assured that the person driving the car in the lane beside me has passed at least a minimal test of skill.
  • I am certain that a physical wall along the border is the stupidest waste of money our elected officals have ever come up with.
  • I want all children to be in school, no matter their immigration status. It does take a village, and we're part of the village.

Just my heart, bleeding liberally again.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi