Saturday, August 17, 2019

What Do the Latest ICE Raids Augur?

ICE/Handout via Reuters
This week’s ICE raids of chicken plants in Mississippi, which apprehended 680 illegal workers, has generated the usual howls of outrage from the pro-illegal-immigration crowd. There was a tsunami of “but look at the crying children!” variety of coverage, but the award for the most unhinged response goes to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), founded 90 years ago as a pro-assimilation patriotic organization, which denounced the raids as “state terrorism“.
Actually, it’s long overdue. Enforcement the ban on hiring illegal aliens has been laughably flaccid, under both Republicans and Democrats, as Pulitzer Prize winner Jerry Kammer laid out here. Tom Homan pledged two years ago that ICE would step up worksite enforcement and there has, in fact, been an increase. One of the obstacles, though, has been bureaucratic — the bureau within ICE responsible for such work, Homeland Security Investigations, is largely led by former Customs Service guys who couldn’t care less about immigration. That’s one reason under Obama the ICE press releases were mainly about counterfeit Gucci handbags and illegal imports of ancient artifacts and the like.
Fine, but without illegal aliens, who will debone the chicken? As happened after the 2006 Swift & Co. meatpacking raids, the targeted plants will raise wages and cast their recruitment net wider. And there are plenty of potential workers. My colleague Steven Camarota coincidentally published a report this week showing that Mississippi has the lowest labor-force participation rate of any state; in the first quarter of this year, only 62 percent of non-college native-born adults in Mississippi were working or actively looking for work. That’s fully 20 points lower than first-place Iowa, and a 12-point drop even from Mississippi’s rate during the same period in 2000. The idea that we’re running out of potential workers, even in today’s good economy, is comical. It may well be that those American workers who don’t already have a job are harder to employ – ex-cons, maybe, or recovering addicts or what have you. But importing foreign workers to fill entry-level jobs not only does nothing to address their employability problems; instead, it’s a crutch that enables us to ignore the problems of our own workers. To be blunt, too many employers are satisfied with leaving marginal American workers to their welfare checks and opioids, and importing foreigners to take their place.
Read the latest from Mark Krikorian HERE.

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