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To live outside the law, you must be silent

One element of the illegal immigration issue that gets very little play is the overwhelming humanitarian concern, the one reason that should cut across all political lines and unite us all on ending the crisis -- the fact that illegal aliens form a ready-made "victim class" for predators.

It's perfect for the criminal element. Here are a whole class of people who tend to keep their money in cash and have a tremendous motive for not involving the authorities in their affairs, no matter what happens to them. They can be robbed, assaulted, raped, even murdered with very little fear that they will turn to those who are supposed to protect them.

In Massachusetts, police have just held a crackdown on Nantucket Island, rounding up 18 of these predators. In a very rare event, illegal aliens actually cooperated with police in getting these (alleged) scumbags off the streets.

This is one of my major problems with the proposed immigration bill. I simply don't have faith that the enforcement aspects will actually be enforced. That has been the downfall of prior immigration reforms, as well as many other "reform" measures.

The idea of ending illegal immigration is not entirely about protecting Americans. It's also, to many such as myself, about protecting those who would become illegal aliens. Illegal aliens are a ready-made underclass, a group that can be exploited in pretty much any way -- financially, socially, physically, sexually, politically, any way you can imagine -- with impunity, because they are far less likely to report the exploitation, and instead simply chalk it up to part and parcel of the price of being in the United States.

We got rid of slavery about a century and a half ago. We took on the remnants of that era with the Civil Rights movement that kicked into gear about half a century ago. Historically, it might seem that we have a need for a permanent underclass we can exploit and abuse freely, but I believe we're better than that.

I have to believe that.


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Comments (12)

One of the main reasons we ... (Below threshold)

One of the main reasons we need a comprehensive immigration plan is to bring the millions of illegals already here into the system. We don't have to grant them citizenship, but we need to find a way to ensure they pay taxes, get driver's licenses and car insurance, and generally are able to participate in society in a positive and productive fashion.

The current bill falls well short of that goal, although it does offer a few improvements over last year's version (but a few instances of backsliding as well). Without meaningful (and sensible) enforcement measures, the rest becomes almost meaningless. But it also must include reasonable allowances for "guest workers" to meet our labor demands, which are real and growing, and some form of recognition for those who are already here and abiding by the law (except the immigration statutes, of course).

Unfortunately, it appears we will either get this bad bill or none at all until after the next election. I oppose the present monstrosity, but I understand that inaction means the problem will only get worse in the meantime.

JT, in most cities, especia... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, in most cities, especially the larger ones have santuary laws. They can report crimes and predatory activity without getting questioned about their statue. ww

I simply don't have fai... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

I simply don't have faith that the enforcement aspects will actually be enforced. That has been the downfall of prior immigration reforms, as well as many other "reform" measures.

No kidding. The fact is, there is absolutely no need for 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform' to stop illegals. We already have laws for this, THEY ARE JUST NOT BEING ENFORCED.

WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THAT THE GOV'T WILL ENFORCE THE NEW LAWS WHEN THEY WON'T ENFORCE THE OLD ONES!?

I feel one of the appeals t... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I feel one of the appeals to illegal alien employees is that they can be treated like servants in the 1000+ years ago biblical sense. Slave may be a little strong. A servant is someone you treat harshly in connection to work and beyond, but they can ultimately still leave. The one thing that you can count on them for is a high level of obedience and loyalty even when they stop working for you. In this case, the obedience is based on fear of you reporting them.

In return for this old style servant status, the employer can expect the illegal to keep his secrets. Whether that is violating OHSA, dumping toxic chemicals, sell material illegally are examples at the workplace. Secrecy for things like cheating on your wife or husband or being a neglectful parent are examples on the homefront.

The Amensty bill will encourage illegals to fill that vacuum. But it won't be as necessary as you think. Some of the provisions make a temporary employee beholding to a specific employer. The will be essentially at-will employees who status here will be threatened if they are fired.

Having illegals here isn't just about wage surpression. Its also about turning back the clock to when employees used to fall at the feet of their employer and anyone that one day might offer them a job.

"Historically, it might see... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

"Historically, it might seem that we have a need for a permanent underclass we can exploit and abuse freely, but I believe we're better than that."

So maybe "we" want illegals so "we" can exploit them ? So are "we" all criminals ? Or is it just the actual criminals who exploit the illegals, not every American ?

This just weak logic with poor comparisons.

You see, even when slavery was legal plenty of Americans were against it and today 99.99999999% of American are against the sort of abuses you mentioned. The .00000001% that aren't ? Thats those CRIMINALS again ...

"To live outside the law, y... (Below threshold)
jeff:

"To live outside the law, you must be silent"

Well duh ...

Gee, maybe its an incentive to become legal ...

When people in the past wou... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

When people in the past would say, "well, ~I~ don't want to pay $5 for a head of lettuce" I would respond that people said similar stuff about slavery and we still managed to make it without.

If illegal aliens are being exploited with lower wages, being exposed to harmful chemicals (pesticides), working in sweatshops or in sex rings it all needs to be stopped.

You know, the "victim class... (Below threshold)
Scott:

You know, the "victim class" also extends to the work place, they are often subject to wmployment abuses that most of us would just say "no" to with little fear of reprisal.

Scott:...often? M... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Scott:

...often? Maybe.

Predominantly? Nope. As far as that goes, a lot of illegal immigrants make pretty decent wages, in jobs that aren't in the "screw 'em" category.

A bunch of construction jobs, for example. Hard work, sure. Dangerous? Can be. Abusive? Not when there's so many places that will take even low-talent workers who will show up and do the job - the workers have too many options to have to put up with that kind of crap.

Yeah, there are some jobs that seem pretty annoying to the average American, but if you grew up doing hard field work just to stay alive, running a lawn mower in 90 degree heat (with regular breaks and free cold water any time you want) for ten bucks an hour is relative heaven.

A lot of the other jobs they get seem pretty minimal - pushing boxes around and such - but considering the amount of work you get out of anybody who signs up for that sort of thing, getting any work at all is good enough. So you're paying some guy minimum wage to shove big packing crates around your warehouse for $6 and change... and he gives you something like that in actual work. Until he learns enough English to get a better job, that is.

The Mexicans are certainly ... (Below threshold)
Jack Coupal:

The Mexicans are certainly silent about their own country.

Mexico has failed as a government. It cannot - or will not - provide opportunities to its own citizens. It sends its uneducated north to work to send hard currency back to Mexico.

It's about time the American people tell Mexico that Mexico must stop being a third-world country and expecting America to be a safety-valve for all of Mexico's defects.

JT,I believe you h... (Below threshold)
matt:

JT,

I believe you have pretty much found the crux of the problem. There does seem to be a desire by societies (not just ours) to have permanent underclasses. Turks and others were imported into Europe, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi's into Saudi Arabia, etc.

Most of the "Labor" arguments for illegal immigration are based on the desire for an exploitable underclass. As long as they are illegal they can be exploited by politicians, employers, criminals, beaurocrats etc.

As soon as they acheive legal status of any kind all of the above become accountable to the law. taxes have to be paid, labor laws have to be followed, etc. Some of the newly legalized even get uppity enough to think they can better themselves and not stay in the underclass (good for them).

I too, think we are better than to need a permanent underclass. Even the legal guest-worker programs bother me. We would send the message that you are good enough to do our hard/dirty work, but not good enough to live here or marry our kids?

I think the truly workable solutions have to be developed by groups that don't have a lot invested in the problem. That means the common folks like us. The politicians and various special interest groups will never create or accept a true compromise bill that creates a win/sin situation for everyone.

It is time for the people to speak and propose workable solutions. There are probably some good workable ideas out there that haven't even been proposed yet.

Illegal status is one probl... (Below threshold)

Illegal status is one problem. A lack of English is another which applies even to people here legally.

I don't believe we need an underclass. I don't think it's necessary and it's not in any way desirable. Not even a legal underclass. I don't believe for a moment that the economy requires any such thing. Supply and demand work, and in the end what needs to get done gets done.

I'd like to see some way of bringing people to a legal status and a way to make it much easier for workers to come and to go again, legally. I'd like to see people *not* be marginalized economically or legally by either an illegal status or lack of English.




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