Blogging mostly about mundane stuff like, immigration, Workers' Compensation and other immigrant related activities.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cold as ICE

(Via: Migra Matters)

Whether it was planned or mere coincidence the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on the Swift & Co's, meat packing plant in Greeley, Colorado, which occurred on Tuesday, December 12, 2006, the day in which for Mexicans celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe the most revered religious and cultural figure to Mexican Catholics around the world is likely to be considered an afront by La Migra on the Latino community. This despite the fact for illegal immigrants the risk of arrest and deportation are a daily possibility given their residency status.

The Greeley Tribune covered the Swift immigration raids and posted video. Click to view exclusive video.

Unfortunately the ICE raids like those at other meat packing plants tend to be largely symbolic. These types of raids while they capture mainstream media coverage and focus the public attention on the issue of illegal immigration provide no meaningful solutions towards fixing or changing our existing immigration policy which is clearly not working and a sham.

The fact that our immigration policy is outdated and requires transformation should come as no surprise to immigrant advocates and proponents of Anti-Illegal immigration laws. The current immigration policy is a sham, because it rewards unscrupulous employers at the expense of a largely exploited Latino immigrant working class.

President Bush and Congress need to fix this and pass a comprehensive immigration bill, because doing so would be good regularize millions of undocumented workers and provide them basic employment and civil rights most Americans take for granted. The passage of a comprehensive immigratoin bill is also good for our economy as it provides businesses that are dependent on secure and stable workforces access to immigrant workers who have already proven to be reliable and efficient workers.

Although some readers of this blog may take my previous statement as self-serving because I myself am a Mexican immigrant, the fact is I'm increasingly finding others who share this view like here and here. The respective links are a NY Times Editorial and
Peter Rousmaniere who hosts the excellent blog Working Immigrants.

Arrests and After Effects:

The raids at the six Swift plans are unlikely to act as deterrents towards diminishing the continued flow of illegal immigration. The fact remains that for illegal immigrants the fear of arrest and deportation is a constant factor in their daily lives. Long after this story has been forgotten the negative economic effects will continue for small towns likely Greeley, Colorado where companies like Swift are the areas largest employers.

The aftermath of immigration raids generally result in a depressed economy for these small towns as a large number of illegal immigrants move onto others towns for work. Such was the case after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a poultry plant in Stillmore, Georgia. The chicken processing plan was the largest employer in the small town and it's loss of illegal immigrants in the community have caused economic hardship from which the town has yet to recover. Follow up story here.

Proponents of Anti-Illegal Immigrant laws argue that immigration raids like those at Swift result in employers being forced to offer better wages that appeal to native workers to these types of jobs. However, as long as our immigration policy continues to turn a blind eye to an effective employer verification system employers will continue to seek immigrant workers to fill jobs what have working conditions and salaries that native born Americans feel are unsafe or pay depressed wages and in most cases both.

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