I was reading a post yesterday by Little Miss Attila in which she discusses how our inability (or to be more precise, unwillingness) to secure our borders and confront our illegal immigration problem has led to the creation of a “quasi-slave status” for illegal immigrants, and that is an important aspect of this whole issue. We know all the arguments against illegal immigration regarding the economy (there are even creative economic arguments for perpetuating illegal immigration, I’ll get back to that one in a bit, but let’s just say that “flexible workers” is pretty much code for “quasi-slaves”), and we all know the arguments against illegal immigration because for as long as our borders are “open” (as essentially they are), we are getting an influx of criminals, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, kidnappers, you name it, along with the (otherwise) law-abiding people who come to this country seeking a better way of life for their families (yes, these do exist, too, but they get over-shadowed by the criminal element). But we aren’t hearing a lot about what living outside the law, on substandard wages, is: what it means and how regressive it really is.
Since the Arizona law was passed, I’ve heard and read some amazingly narrow-minded and frankly shocking arguments for perpetuating this quasi-slave status of illegal immigrants (aka “undocumented workers” or “undocumented migrant workers”). That old “they do work Americans won’t do” cliche gets trotted out quite often, though not as often as one might expect . . . perhaps because of the massive unemployment figures (in November of last year they hit 10.2%, a 26-year high and are, as of last month, at 9.7%. For blacks, the unemployment rate is a jaw-dropping 17.6%, reaching 20% in some states. The figures, of course, don’t reflect people who are no longer claiming benefits because they’ve been unemployed too long, have taken a part-time job, or have given up looking).
But even without the alarming unemployment numbers, that argument never held any water because what it means is that illegal immigrants do work Americans cannot legally do for the same pay. Illegal immigrants are not paid the federally-mandated minimum wage that must be paid to all tax paying citizens and documented workers. Indeed, some reports suggest that some are paid as little as $3.35 per hour (the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, for some perspective, the lowest minimum wage was in 1948, at which time the minimum wage was 40 cents or by today’s value $3.14). Yet illegal immigrants often have to work 12 or 14 hours days, six or seven days per week in order to keep these jobs, obviously with no benefits, no sick days, no vacation, no nothing. And as if this weren’t bad enough, some employers don’t bother paying them at all, apparently not anticipating any legal action against them from an illegal worker.
And that’s not the only way that illegal immigrants are treated unlawfully. Illegal immigrants who are the victims of crime (violent and nonviolent) don’t really have any recourse, so children are used not only as child labor (what child labor laws apply if you “don’t exist“?) but also, like many adults, as sex slaves. And adults are robbed, beaten, raped, and murdered, and their living conditions are often abysmal. Illegal immigrants often live in squalor because slum lords don’t fix plumbing, heating, or much of anything for illegal immigrant housing. Obviously, statistics are hard to come by, because crimes against illegal aliens are rarely reported. This is not, of course, to dismiss the crimes, violent and nonviolent, committed by illegal immigrants, but it’s important to note that they are often the victims of crimes and because of their illegal status have little to no recourse.
Let’s see, at what time in American history did we have a class of people who were under paid or not paid at all and against whom acts of violence and inhumanity were perpetrated, the victims having nowhere to turn? And today, we hear the same arguments in defense of illegal immigration that we heard in defense of slavery, up to and including the economic impact (the same arguments–almost verbatim–made today about illegal immigration were once made in defense of slavery) and the “better lives” the victims
endure “enjoy” here as compared to those in their native countries.
John C. Calhoun supported slavery because for him the natural rights that all men are born with (and the premise of our country’s founding) was just so much bunk. He believed, as do modern day progs and most dems, that man’s “natural state is the social and political,” that it has nothing to do with inherent or God-given rights. If our natural, inherent, or basic (pick your descriptor) rights come from government or society, any right so-granted, can just as easily be taken away with the stroke of a pen (think of progressive “hero” Woodrow Willson who segregated the military). Sound familiar? It should (it also explains why lefties are always calling everything from education and healthcare to owning a cell phone and having high speed internet access “rights”). Race, as we experience it today, is in many ways a socio-political construct (just like our basic human rights, according to progs), and just as this line of thinking helped prop up slavery, it is helping to prop up the modern day quasi-slavery of illegal immigrants.