The failed "liberal" venture known as Salon covers an issue discussed here for over two months: illegal aliens doing rebuilding work: "Gulf Coast slaves" Given all the bad things they discuss in their article, I have to wonder why "liberals" continue to support the situation they describe.
The only way to prevent situations like they describe is to oppose illegal immigration and support strong enforcement. Anything else is just living in a fantasy world.
...But three weeks after arriving at the naval base from Texas, Martinez's boss, Karen Tovar, a job broker from North Carolina who hired workers for a KBR subcontractor called United Disaster Relief, booted him from the base and left him homeless, hungry and without money.
...He says that Tovar "kicked us off the base," forcing him and other cleanup workers -- many of them Mexican and undocumented -- to sleep on the streets of New Orleans. According to Martinez, they were not paid for three weeks of work. An immigrant rights group recently filed complaints with the Department of Labor on behalf of Martinez and 73 other workers allegedly owed more than $56,000 by Tovar. Tovar claims that she let the workers go because she was not paid by her own bosses at United Disaster Relief. In turn, UDR manager Zachary Johnson, who declined to be interviewed for this story, told the Washington Post on Nov. 4 that his company had not been paid by KBR for two months...
...Bill Chandler, president of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, estimate that hundreds of undocumented workers are on the Gulf Coast military bases, a claim that the military and Halliburton/KBR deny -- even after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency turned up undocumented workers in a raid of the Belle Chasse facility last month. Visits to the naval bases and dozens of interviews by Salon confirm that undocumented workers are in the facilities. Still, tracing the line from unpaid undocumented workers to their multibillion-dollar employers is a daunting task. A shadowy labyrinth of contractors, subcontractors and job brokers, overseen by no single agency, have created a no man's land where nobody seems to be accountable for the hiring -- and abuse -- of these workers...
[...Davis-Bacon and I-9 suspensions...]
...Halliburton/KBR spokesperson Melissa Norcross declined to respond directly to allegations about undocumented workers in the Gulf...
...I was with [Victoria Cintra, the Gulf Coast outreach organizer for Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance] when she received phone calls from several Latino workers who complained they were denied, under threat of deportation, the right to leave the base at Belle Chasse. Cintra also took me along on visits to squalid trailer parks -- like the one at Arlington Heights in Gulfport -- where up to 19 unpaid, unfed and undocumented KBR site workers inhabited a single trailer for $70 per person, per week. Workers there and on the bases complained of suffering from diarrhea, sprained ankles, cuts and bruises, and other injuries sustained on the KBR sites -- where they received no medical assistance, despite being close to medical facilities on the same bases they were cleaning and helping rebuild...
It goes on.
[In response to a segment from PBS's NOW program (the one formerly featuring far-leftie Bill Moyers) I posted the following in the PBS forums here. Feel free to comment either in this post or over there.]
The 11/18/05 segment about illegal aliens doing rebuilding jobs described the horrible living and working conditions of those illegal laborers.
Perhaps we could put our heads together and try to end this. How could we do that?
Maybe we could confer some sort of legal status on all those illegal aliens, even make them in to citizens. Even including those who've only been here for a few months.
Of course, then those same corrupt companies that were abusing the (old) illegal aliens will just find a new crop of illegal aliens to come in and take their place.
Then, we can give citizenship to those (new) illegal aliens. Gosh, this could keep repeating itself over and over and over again, couldn't it?
Of course, the alternative would be to oppose illegal immigration. Wouldn't that be the best, most grown-up solution of all?
That way, if a citizen or legal worker gets put in the same position as those illegal workers, they can sue or avail themselves of other remedies.
And, that way newly-arrived illegal aliens won't take jobs from American hurricane victims. Isn't that the best, most American solution of all?
And, isn't that the opposite of the solution that NOW presented?
Perhaps NOW should sit down and think this whole subject through a bit more.
Of course, many will no doubt (mostly reflexively) disagree. I invite them to provide their detailed plans below, and I'll endeavor to answer any question they might have.
The country of Honduras is going to open an office in New Orleans to disburse aid to their citizens who've been affected by the storm. That includes 80,000 people, who'll be getting $100,000 (total):
[Rene Becerra, the government's commissioner for immigration] said migrants from Honduras began immigrating en masse to New Orleans in the 1960s and that today about 150,000 call the city home _ representing an estimated 80 percent of its Central American population.
I think they mean of the whole region.
An estimated 600,000 Hondurans live in the United States, one third of whom do not have proper immigration documents, AP reported.
Reading between the lines, we're told that this is for their "nationals", i.e., citizens of Honduras. While some of those might be legal immigrants or legal visitors, many would be illegal aliens.
I don't call them DUmmies for nothing. This thread discusses the issue covered in "AP discovers scandal: illegal aliens getting ripped off".
The title is "CNN/AP: Immigrant (Hispanic) workers stiffed for Katrina work (very sad)", and it includes this histrionic comment:
The consequences of voting for Bush and his conservatives. You church goers, who voted for Bush because he claims to be a "born-again" Christian, who has personal conversations with God...see the results of your votes? Can you imagine the Jesus you claim to be the Savior of mankind, condoning using illegals to do backbreaking, dangerous work, risking their health by exposure to all kinds of toxic substances, while the cronies of your "Godly President" stuff their pockets, and deny these people the already shamefully low pay they promised?
...You greedy conservatives, who demand tax cuts like those dying of thirst demand a sip of water, you have no qualms at having billions of tax dollars funneled back into the same corrupt pockets, but when it comes to helping, by a few pitiful pennies, the ones who lost everything due to Katrina, you will squeal like hogs about to be slaughtered...
It goes on. The problem, of course, is that "liberals" are every bit as responsible for what's happening as "conservatives" like president Bush.
The only solution to this problem - the only way to make sure nothing like this happens - is to stop illegal immigration. And, "liberals"/Democrats are on the wrong side of this issue. No Democratic politician is opposed to it, and many are strong supporters.
It is literally impossible to both have illegal immigration and avoid the situation described in the AP article. If the "liberals"/Democrats want to prevent things like this, they're going to have to start acting like grown-ups.
Here's an example of them wanting to bash the GOP while cuddling poor undocumented immigrants at the same time. Check out the replies to "GOP mulls end of birthright citizenship".
The apparently "liberal" site called Halliburton Watch reports on the incident here.
Previously: "More on the illegal aliens at Belle Chasse Naval Air Station".
"Defense Industry Daily", as its name implies, is the eWeek of those dependent on dear old DoD. They have a press release on the Kellogg-Brown-Root contract under which one of their subcontractors allegedly hired illegal aliens here.
We Americans might consider it a scandal that there are illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs from American hurricane victims. However, in the alternate universe favored by the Associated Press, it's only a scandal when those illegal aliens are ripped off by corrupt contractors. Few people want people not to be paid, and few people want serf laborers to live and work in unsafe conditions.
Even bright six-year-olds can see the solution: keep illegal aliens from coming to New Orleans. That way, all the problems are solved. If contractors try to rip off a citizen, they'll get sued. If contractors try to get a citizen to clean up rotting seafood without the proper equipment, they'll get sued.
Anyone who supports anything other than that is ideologically corrupt, and perhaps corrupt in a more financial sense as well.
Immigrants often unpaid for Katrina work
A pattern is emerging as the cleanup of Mississippi's Gulf Coast morphs into its multibillion-dollar reconstruction: Come payday, untold numbers of Hispanic immigrant laborers are being stiffed.
Sometimes, the boss simply vanishes. Other workers wait on promises that soon, someone in a complex hierarchy of contractors will provide the funds to pay them.
Nonpayment of wages is a violation of federal labor law, but these workers - thousands of them, channeled into teams that corral debris, swaddle punctured roofs in blue tarps and gut rain-ravaged homes - are especially vulnerable because many are here illegally.
After Katrina hit, Armando Ojeda paid $1,200 to be smuggled across the desert border from Mexico, a walk that took several nights. Talk of $10 an hour - more in a day than he made each week at a computer factory back home - led him to pay another $1,200 to be crammed in van with a dozen other immigrants and driven 1,600 miles, from a safe house in Arizona to Mississippi...
Once again, the AP just doesn't seem to understand these basic principles and ideas. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and help them find their lost senses.
On 10/18, the National Council of La Raza ("National Council of The Race"), the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Asian American Justice Center, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights issued a joint press release concerning remarks made by NO Mayor Ray Nagin.
Let's see if we can help those putatively American organizations with their understanding of common words:
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's unfortunate comment at a public forum on October 6, "How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?" is an example of remarks that can divide Americans at a time when we need to be united.
Obviously, these organizations are putting their respective races ahead of their country and their abilities to think. The words "Mexican" and "American" represent disjoint sets: unless one has dual citizenship, one can't be both at the same time.
Nagin wasn't referring to "Hispanics", "Americans of Mexican descent", or "Mexican-Americans". He was referring to illegal aliens from Mexico who are coming to take jobs from American hurrican victims. Those illegal aliens are not "Americans", and no Americans should support them in their efforts to take jobs that Americans should be doing.
Those who gave Nagin a standing ovation after his remarks should explain to these groups just how "unfortunate" their press release really is.
The titular person contributes to a New Republic page called "The Plank", and he offers "If Ray Nagin bashes immigrants, does he make a sound?"
That post links to the NYT article "In Louisiana, Worker Influx Causes Ill Will".
And, the post and the NYT article discuss the Nagin remark "How do I make sure New Orleans is not overrun with Mexican workers?" Let me offer a language lesson: "Mexican workers" refers to workers from... Mexico. It doesn't mean "Hispanics", or "Mexican-Americans", or "Americans of Mexican descent". And, he was clearly referring to illegal aliens, since most of those coming to New Orleans are in fact illegal aliens. Needless to say, Zengerle doesn't understand that distinction.
In fact, while the NYT clearly indicates that most of the workers it's discussing are illegal aliens, Zegerle refers to them as "out-of-state workers", "Hispanic immigrant workers", and "Latino workers".
And, he discusses how they're subjected to "resentment", "animus", "hostility", and "anti-immigrant animus".
Obviously, no one wants to be tarred with such inflammatory rhetoric. So, let me suggest that we just ignore the fact that illegal aliens from Mexico are coming to New Orleans to take jobs that American citizens - many of them African-Americans - could and should be doing.
And, let's ignore the fact that those illegal aliens will send their paychecks - perhaps including money indirectly from the federal government - back to Mexico, further enriching the corrupt oligarchy of that country.
And, let's ignore the fact that corrupt contractors are making out like bandits, paying illegal aliens low wages under the table while getting federal contracts.
And, let's ignore the fact that - unlike American workers - those illegal aliens will be living and working in unsafe conditions.
Everyone in American should ignore that, because the last thing we want is Jason Zengerle to call us haters.
Let's contact TNR and congratulate them on supporting American workers: email@example.com
Their coverage of the anti-American scandal is in "In Louisiana, Worker Influx Causes Ill Will".
Needless to say, this putatively American newspaper reports on illegal aliens working and living in unsafe conditions and taking jobs that should go to Americans without emphasizing how much a scandal this is. On the bright side, they don't play the race card as much as other papers have.
Previously: "Michael Martinez, the Chicago Tribune, and illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs", "Bush making conspiracy theories come true; Spike Lee movie", and "New Orleans jobs and federal funding scandal".