Monday, May 19, 2008

More on Agriprocessor and the Cowards' War on Immigrants

A comment a close friend of Pico's just posted on Daily Kos:

Unless we believe that terrorizing people is a good strategy for (a) misdemeanor offenders and (b) enhancing the world's political support for the USA, then we'd be well advised to drop this war on immigrants.

It's not the people we need to smack down. It's the deliberate use of immigration policy to provide greedy employers like Agriprocessor with a steady stream of undocumented workers who can be intimidated, cheated, and abused and who have NO recourse. For you anti-immigrants out there: If that's not the reason why our INS/ICE policies haven't changed in 50 years, pray do tell me what is. Follow the money.

Today it's the Guatemalans in meat packing companies. Before, it was Lithuanians, Poles, Vietnamese, and Mexicans. This is an age-old ladder that the industry has depended on since Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle, about exploited people in Chicago's meat packing houses. That was like 1909. The most desperate and vulnerable take the worst, nastiest, and most dangerous jobs. Then they progress up the ladder to citizenship and are assimilated. See Leys' article in yesterday's Des Moines Register for more about that history.

Nativists offer us two choices: Either grow your own meat and produce, or ignore undocumented immigrants. That's because if you drive them away, either your chicken price will go through the roof or your chicken factory will move to Mexico, and won't that be great for Postville!

The rest of us offer a better solution: A new New Deal, no more exploited workers from anywhere, including home-grown, and an end to so-called "free trade" and globalization.

Either we all hang together for global worker rights and decent pay, benefits, and conditions, or we'll all hang together. It's not rocket science.

Mean loves stupid and stupid loves mean. It's axiomatic. When we stoop to this, we demean ourselves, our flag, our country, and our global honor.

This isn't what my WWII Paratrooper Captain dad lost his eye for. He'd be sickened by what we've let ourselves buy in the co-opted names of "patriotism" and "Christian," because only cowards resort to torture and terror.