Will below-market illegal laborers, working in substandard or illegal conditions and working under federal government contracts, rebuild New Orleans? Will major, connected contractors pocket the difference between what they will pay those illegal aliens and what they would have paid Americans?
And, will both "liberals" and "conservatives" look the other way or even allow this to happen?
Will this become a major scandal revealing both Republican and Democratic corruption, or will the news media be able to sweep it under the rug?
On Thursday, Mayor Ray Nagin raised the issue of illegal aliens working to rebuild New Orleans at a townhall meeting. Nagin wondered how to "make sure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers," and his speech ended in a standing ovation.
Unfortunately, he's got a lot of work to do to prevent that. The Bush administration is making it easier for illegal aliens to take reconstruction jobs.
From the "liberal" side of things, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) wants amnesty for illegal aliens. In fact, he specifically mentioned those illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs in Biloxi when voicing his support for the McCain-Kennedy amnesty. Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and other Senators support extending extensive aid to illegal aliens affected by the hurricane. A California Bishop supports the same. And, Gregory Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Times even predicts that New Orleans will end up like L.A., pointing out historic examples of using foreign labor for major construction projects and using the coolie system to make his point.
A few Americans support the idea of making sure that American workers rebuild an American city. Jesse Jackson is leading a jobs caravan. Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) wrote a very strong letter to Vicente Fox refusing his attempts to profit off the disaster. And, Lou Dobbs has covered this issue.
In the middle ground, the AP article entitled by the Houston Chronicle "Hispanics doing much of the cleanup in New Orleans" has a bit more on what your federal government is paying for:
An investigator with the Laborers Union, Rafael Duran, said that outside the New Orleans Arena, he had encountered Mexican teenagers perhaps 15 or 16 years old who had been removing excrement-fouled carpets.
While some cleanup workers in New Orleans are staying in hotels, Duran said the teenagers on the carpet-removal job told him they were sleeping in a field under a tent, and had gotten bitten by mosquitoes.
And, see this:
So, we have the reality of these shelters full of people wanting work and then you see Mexican workers being brought in from Texas, and when they're done, doing this dirty work, they will be put on the back of trucks, piled into trucks and they go to wherever it is that they were staying.
I suggest using this issue to find out where our leaders stand. On the one side, American workers rebuilding an American city. On the other, corruption, corporatism, and a modern-day hacienda system.
Please contact your representatives and urge them to do the right thing in this case. And, contact the news media and suggest they look into this issue in more depth than they would normally.