Flutterby™! : illegal immigration

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illegal immigration

2006-12-15 19:16:19.98804+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

[ related topics: Politics moron Law Enforcement ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-15 19:48:05.215029+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Although building a fence along our border with Mexico realistically means very little, I'm glad to see the stiff fines and possible prison terms for the employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens. That's the only solution which has any chance for success in the "war on illegal immigration," which I think is far more important than the "war on terror."

As for the meat packing plant raid by ICE, I must admit I hadn't looked at it in terms of "union busting." The hiring of illegal aliens there has presumably driven wages down, not up? After the bust, with fewer low-wage workers to choose from, won't there be pressure for wages to go up? That doesn't sound like union busting in a traditional sense, and this action should create additional jobs for real Americans citizens.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-15 20:25:20.12087+00 by: Dan Lyke

Why else would Swift & Co. consent to losing > 1k workers in one fell swoop?

This stuff only happens if the employers want it to happen, that they're saying "it was horrible that we were misled" rather than "we just lost a factory's worth of workers" says to me that they knew what they were doing in the hiring, and when the workers got too settled, they decided to use the law to ship 'em out.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-15 22:00:02.325217+00 by: jeff [edit history]

We might have to agree to disagree on this one Dan (no biggie).

This wasn't about Swift & Co. consenting to anything; it is more about Swift & Co. (et al) complying with federal and state employment laws. There are obvious industries in which any raid (planned or random) will likely turn up a high number of employment improprieties (meat packing is one). Moreover, if these people were actually stealing social security numbers, more power to the feds to reign them in. If we have to pay higher meat prices so that real American citizens can bring home the potatoes, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Having said that, it is clear to me that the feds prepared a long time for this raid, which is what we'd expect. We probably don't want vigilante racial profiling done on the streets with respect to illegal immigration. It was also probably done to showcase their ability to do this sort of thing on a grand scale, so that pending legislation can be pushed through Congress.

I must admit that I'm still puzzled by your comparison of this raid to union busting on the part of Swift & Co. Won't they be hurt by this disruption, as their labor costs increase and short-term plant output decreases? Their ill-gotten gains are no longer part of their bottom line, so I can't see an incentive for them to bring the feds in. Additionally, the meat packing union didn't hire these people. Swift & Co. did. Union membership comes after hiring, not before?

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-15 23:05:13.242631+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, I'm clearly interpreting stuff through my own colored glasses. But the DHS went in there and busted sixty people for "identity fraud" which, from what I can read between the lines in the various articles I've read, seems to be a trumped up way of saying "they made up or used someone else's social security number for employment documentation and got busted when someone tried to match up withholding data", and in the process busted fifteen times that for visa violations or whatever.

I don't see it as Swift & Co. consenting, I see them as actively seeking it out. Had this been about the sixty five people who didn't play the social security number game right, they would have arrested those sixty five. But a thousand people is someone saying "We need some turnover, workers are communicating too much, let's ferret out every last one, let the feds do the dirty work, and come out with great PR because we were willing to roust the illegals from our ranks!"

Yeah, they'll have a short term plant output decrease, but I'll bet that if you could get aggregate data you'd see wages go down over the next year or two. It might be worth trying to suss out unemployment data for the region they're in and watch if the numbers change over the next few months. I'd bet that they don't, that there are another thousand illegal immigrants willing to take those jobs, and aside from a small blip in customers at other businesses the U.S. citizens won't even notice.

And in return, the next time you and I take a job the ID requirements will be even more onerous and we'll spend more time trying to jump through silly hoops filling out the next version of the I9. Speaking of which, I need to make sure my passport is up-to-date, because that's become the defacto identity card even for internal ID.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-15 23:42:13.751487+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Dan--you make some good points, and we both have our own individual opinions about the illegal immigration issue.

It's hard to really know for sure what went down, but both the inputs and outputs are multidimensional in their cause and effect. We'll see if this is an isolated "grand-stand" on the part of the government or if the feds are really serious about this issue if they raid other organizations of similar size with similar problems. If the wages do go down over the next couple of years, you're right, it will be mostly attributable to illegal immigrant workers working illegally.

By the way, for a real-time update, I'm working late at the office (Columbus, Ohio) and the cleaning lady who just emptied my trash is now communicating on her cell phone in Spanish. When I said "hello" as she entered my cube, it elicted no response. Perhaps it's sign of the times and the pervasive lack of cultural assimilation to come.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-16 00:09:22.216257+00 by: crasch

When I said "hello" as she entered my cube, it elicted no response. Perhaps it's sign of the times and the pervasive lack of cultural assimilation to come.


As I understand it, you would enthusiastically turn her into the authorities for deportation if you discovered she were illegal. Therefore, is it that surprising that she would be reluctant to converse with you, and possibly reveal her status?

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-16 00:33:35.776818+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Crasch--that's a generalization which presupposes that a warm friendly smile accompanied by "hello" in a friendly tone is to be interpreted as an outward manifestation of "intent to deport?"

Really--I'm not that "bad of a guy." I'm just seeking to understand and perhaps think through some of the issues of the day. And I'm finally home and now ready for a getaway weekend! Adios, amigos!

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-16 05:53:46.608857+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

Greeley is just up the street so this qualifies as local news. There seem to be two stories coming out of it. One side is the unions saying things about "detainees dumped in the middle of nowhere" and "warning shots fired over the workers heads". The other side is that about 100 of the detainees were using stolen identification - not just made up SSNs. At least one US citizen who had his ID stolen has had to deal with ruined credit, the IRS wanting taxes for jobs he never had, and phone companies expecting him to pay for the ID thief's bills.

My gut feeling is that it was a culmination of two things: a crackdown on illegal immigrants in a workplace AND a crackdown on ID theft. However, the ID theft was never a problem before the government started making employers enforce immigration rules by insisting on ID. Further, Swift did exactly what they were told to - type the SSN into a database and verify that it approximately correct for the person in front of them (I guess, male vs. female, dead vs. alive, approximate age).

According to the local papers, the Swift plant only suffered a minor slowdown. The real problem may arise if ICE used unnecessary force in the process. Afterall, there were many US citizens working there and they were all subject to the raid and some even detained.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-16 17:23:11.992627+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/12/race-and-detention.html -- fuel for the fire.

"DHS agents allegedly separated workers by their skin color -- light-skinned were considered citizens, dark-skinned got scrutiny."

"... reports from all six states confirmed that legal immigrants were among those taken away, and have not been returned. 'We're still trying to find out where the buses went,' she said. 'Children have been left at church day cares. Nobody knows where these people are.'"