Yesterday, ICE arrested about 680 undocumented aliens working at a food processing plant in Mississippi. This is a large food processing company with headquarters in Illinois. The company employs about 13,000 people mostly in the South. A big part of their work is processing poultry. A comment was made, “Where are we going to get the workers?” This is a good question. We need to fix our immigration laws. I think the need for workers is well established.
During the 2nd Bush administration, a bipartisan group in Congress tried to deal with the immigration laws. They suggested guest worker programs with paths to citizenship if wanted. The fixes suggested by the bipartisan group, the so-called “Gang of Eight”, were never voted into law, defeated by the more conservative elements in Congress. These are the same fights we are having today, and we have even slipped further from sensible solutions.
So much of this is about race. We need the workers, they want to be here. They are on payrolls and paying taxes. In many cases, large corporations like the one in this article, are employing undocumented workers – because they need them. It seems, we would prefer to fight over racial issues, than come to a good fix of our immigration laws.
We also need to rethink our foreign aid programs and look to creating some sort of a “Marshall Plan” for Central America. These countries are our neighbors. In many respects, these are also failing or failed states. I think of all the money, mostly borrowed, we have spent on Mideast wars, and really, for one purpose, to protect the oil industry. Why not invest right here for peaceful purposes with our neighbors. Maybe we would not be seeing these “caravans” headed north if we did this.
It just seems like there are some sensible solutions to the immigrations problems, and they are not about building walls, they are about building partnerships with our neighbors.