In my years of working as a human rights advocate around the world, I have learned to sniff out the cynics. You know the kind of person I mean—someone like Reginald Wayne Miller, president of “Cathedral Bible College” in South Carolina, who was just convicted of luring foreign students to America with promises of education, then forcing them to work at subminimum wage, threatening them with deportation if they complained.
The worst cynics I have encountered, those who do the most damage to real people on the ground, are those who use the rhetoric of justice to cloak the exploitation of the weak. We have seen their type before in history, for instance, slaveowners who claimed that the “peculiar institution” kept black slaves safer and happier than free white factory workers—such that the working class in the North would be better off as slaves.
The heirs to these pro-slavery advocates today are those who defend and wish to expand the exploitation of undocumented immigrants, who in fact wish to use the promise of “amnesty” for America’s current undocumented population to lure in tens of millions more from neighboring countries. The current refugee crisis on America’s borders, reporters have shown, was sparked in large part by rumors and press reports in Latin America that the U.S. was likely to offer an unconditional amnesty to 12 million undocumented residents. So, thousands of parents risked their children’s lives in the rickety buses and dangerous trucks of human traffickers (coyotes). Every year, hundreds of women attempting to enter the U.S. are sexually assaulted—as we know from the “rape trees” that coyotes festoon with the clothes torn from their victims. America’s fields and factories are full of exploited workers, laboring in 19th century conditions without the protection of any law. When they slice off their thumbs while carving up meat, or break their backs picking tomatoes, their employers drop them off at the public emergency ward. No need to worry about Obamacare, or worker’s comp—the taxpayer foots the bill.
Among those taxpayers are the millions of less-skilled American workers whose wages are crushed and opportunities plucked away by the constant influx of migrants willing to work for less, and in more hazardous conditions. If we wonder why so few high school dropouts can find a job, get married, and form a family, we need look no further than this: Whatever low-skill jobs employers cannot outsource to China, they “in-source” to undocumented migrants.
Who benefits from the constant supply of low-wage workers? Two groups benefit: employers who look for cheap labor, and politicians looking for votes. The latter proclaim their concern for the undocumented but thwart every attempt to secure the borders, while failing to impose some safety and order upon the influx of newcomers to America. Worse still, they knowingly hold out the bait of “amnesty” and reject measures that would secure America’s borders. This way, they can win the votes of the newly minted citizens, while ensuring that millions more just like them will keep on coming to America—to do the dirty and dangerous jobs at low, low wages.
This perfect storm of corruption, chaos, and greed is what explains America’s immigration gridlock. Democrats, hungry for Latino votes, recklessly promise amnesty while leaving our borders unguarded, fully aware that, by doing so, they are advertising for the coyotes. Republicans, in hock to big business, mouth slogans affirming “diversity,” while winking at the ruthless, illegal use of cheap labor across America. And who pays the price? The most vulnerable people in America—the least advantaged workers of every nationality.
Our country cannot be secure, or just, or even really free, until it insists that every human being receive the protection of law. It is not “hospitality” to wink as millions of poor people are exploited by the rich, or to craft laws that attract millions more to risk their lives in the hands of narco-traffickers, or the pathless, waterless desert—only to fill the slots at America’s most dangerous factories and pesticide-ridden farms. It is not a “pro-immigrant” policy to leave our borders under the control of the same criminal gangs that are driving people to flee their own countries to live in America’s ghettos. But it’s mighty convenient for some of the richest and most ambitious people in America.
We must hold them accountable.
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