Wednesday, January 04, 2006
  Bees and Illegal Aliens
If you don’t want to attract bees, keep the lid on the honey jar. Professor Bill Hing, in his January 2, 2006 editorial in the Chicago Tribune linked to by Buzzflash, states "If anti-immigrant forces in Congress had their way, illegal immigration would be a crime punishable by death."

This is a harsh statement about a body that has so far shown no real guts for actually stopping or controlling the flow of illegal aliens that cross our southern border. The bill he refers to sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), that was passed in the House will be watered down in the Senate - as usual - to make ineffective the so-called increased enforcement against employers who hire undocumented workers - and there is the real problem.

Professor Hing blames "anti-immigration laws" for causing the deaths of people trying to enter this country illegally because "their entry choices were shifted to treacherous terrain--the deserts and mountains."

He goes on to site numbers that seemly back his argument; "In 1994, fewer than 30 migrants died along the border; by 1998, the number was 147; in 2001, 387 deaths were counted; and in the last fiscal year, 451 died." What he leaves out of these numbers is the corresponding increase in the number of people illegally crossing the southern border since 1994. He says of the people who cross the border illegally "In a sense, they do not have a choice." This is his prelude to the often heard jobs-are-going-begging argument.

He says "... jobs are plentiful here [in the US] because a variety of industries rely on low-wage migrant workers." At this point, I would ask Professor Hing to first get his nomenclature straight; we are not talking about "migrant workers." A migrant is someone with legal standing. What we are talking about is "illegal aliens"; people who have openly broken the law to gain entry into our country and now resides here illegally.

Secondly, industries in the United States who have become addicted to exploiting the labor of illegal aliens paying low wages and furnishing poor and dangerous work conditions should not be rewarded by giving these industries greater access to a larger work force ripe for exploitation. These industries should be made to answer to the letter of the law. It is illegal to hire illegal aliens in this country. Any company found guilty of doing so should be heavily fined and the executive officers should face prison time.

Professor Hing and others may argue that if some industries had to bring up working conditions and wages to attract American workers, they would go out of business. My response to that is, "Too bad."

If I am a merchant in this country selling any type of merchandise and I find that I can no longer make a profit by buying my product wholesale, adding value and then reselling it, I have some choices to make. I can a.) go out of business; b.) change my business to increase efficiency; c.) take my business to another country; d.) pass the increased cost to the consumer, or, finally; e.) I can charge it off against the bottom-line. Traditionally, with the exception of "c", American companies have chosen a combination of all the above.

What they don't do is smuggle in raw product across the border from another country to keep up the bottom-line. Other producers of the same product would cry “foul” and there are numerous laws in place with harsh penalties to prevent such unfair advantages.

Recently, Delphi CEO Steve Miller callously pointed out that labor is just another raw material. Every working person in this country is a merchant of that material. Why should we stand by while our stock-in-trade is cheapened by goods smuggled into this country illegally?

Yes, I recognize that the world is just one huge market place now but I also recognize that the world is not one huge level playing field. If it were, the United States would have universal health care like all other major industrialized nations, Chinese currency wouldn't be pegged to the US Dollar to insure that the trade deficient remains in their favor and US farmers wouldn’t be getting farm subsidies, 80% of which go to three corporations, so they can undercut prices on the world market and force local farmers out of business – including Mexican farmers - since the signing of NAFTA. Now these farmers swell the ranks of Mexico's unemployed because they can no longer compete with our giant government-subsidized farming industries.

So, Professor Hing, if you really want to stop the deaths of people who have chosen of their own freewill to break our laws and cross into our country illegally, put the lid on the honey jar and the bees will stay away. Stiffen the penalties and fines for hiring illegal aliens until it becomes unprofitable. It is already illegal, immoral and just plain un-American.

Oh, and if you really need something to bitch about, consider starting with NAFTA.
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Samizdat: an underground system for the circulation of forbidden works of literature and political criticism in the Soviet era of Russia.

Location: Arkansas, United States

Angry, angry, angry ... but still, any day above ground is a good day.