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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Yawn. But at least the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu reminds people that these groups are linked with extremists.


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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    Nothing new here. FAIR and CIS are racist organizations. Stein, Camarota, Kirkorian and Vaughan are plain old fashioned racists pedalling the story that wages in the meat packing industry have gone up after the raids. They would not answer the question as to why programmer wages have gone down despite cutbacks in H1-B visas and why airline steward wages continue to go down despite employing no non-US citizens. Racists plain and simple including the founder Tanton. Wonder why SLPC has only labelled FAIR a hate group while equal amount of vitriol comes from CIS?!!
  2. Another voice's Avatar
    I bet the antis will be singing to this tune, Greg I wonder if this is the same plant you blogged about some months ago...

    Immigration raids yield jobs for legal workers
    By Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
    When federal agents descended on six meatpacking plants owned by Swift & Co. in December 2006, they rounded up nearly 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants that made up about 10% of the labor force at the plants.
    But the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents did not cripple the company or the plants. In fact, they were back up and running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

    That was the most extreme example of what has become an increasingly common result of the raids: "They were very beneficial to American workers," according to Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain.

    "Whenever there's an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do those jobs that Americans will supposedly not do," said Swain, who teaches law and political science.

    Exactly who is filling the jobs has varied, depending on the populations surrounding the plants:

    o Out West, one of the Swift plants raided by ICE, had a workforce that was about 90% Hispanic -- both legal and illegal -- before the raids. The lost workers were replaced mostly with white Americans and U.S.-born Hispanics, according to the CIS.

    o In the South, a House of Raeford Farms plant in North Carolina that was more than 80% Hispanic before a federal investigation is now about 70% African-American, according to a report by TheCharlotte Observer.

    o Throughout the Great Plains, a new wave of legal immigrants is filling the void, according to Jill Cashen, spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents 1.3 million people who work in the food-processing industry. Plants are refilling positions with newly arrived immigrants from places such as Sudan, Somalia and Southeast Asia.

    Recession plays a factor in shift

    Steven Camarota of CIS said native-born Americans are not only willing to take on those jobs, but currently fill a majority of them.

    Native-born workers outnumber immigrants 3-to-1 in construction jobs and 2-to-1 in farming, fishing and forestry jobs, according to Camarota.

    T. Willard Fair, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, said it has taken the greatest recession in a generation for poor Americans to line up to work in fields and factories.

    "We'll take anything now," Fair said. "We're willing to be exploited for a while."

    After ICE agents descend on poultry-processing plants, pork factories and meatpacking facilities across the USA, in some cases plant owners are forced to raise wages to get Americans to sign up, Swain said.

    Catherine Singley, a policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights organization, said the post-raid increases in salaries were also necessary for Americans to accept the harsh, dangerous working environments.

    She said wages did not plummet in recent decades because of immigrants undercutting Americans, but because employers took advantage of the immigrant population fearful of seeking help from authorities.

    "If you've got a segment of the workforce that's afraid to speak out against violations of their labor rights, then that drags down wages and working conditions for all workers," Singley said.

    A report released last week by the NCLR found that the occupational fatality rate for Latinos remained the highest among ethnic groups in the country for the 15th straight year in 2007, when 937 Latinos died on the job.

    "That's something that native-born Americans and native-born Latino workers are dealing with for the first time," she said, referring to the general working conditions faced by workers in factories, plants and fields.

    New leverage for workers

    As the face of factory workers changes, so do the issues that workers and employers must tackle.

    Cashen said her union had to negotiate with plant managers in Nebraska and Colorado to allow employees to properly observe the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.

    This month, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the Colorado plant was wrong to fire more than 100 Muslim workers who walked out during Ramadan last year in a dispute over prayer breaks.

    "Ten years ago, we were negotiating to provide for Cinco de Mayo," Cashen said, referring to the Mexican holiday. "If you walk in the doors of a plant, you're going to see ... the United Nations."

  3. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "In fact, they were back up and running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)."

    Did not they try to bring workers for a while, and then closed the plan and declared bankruptcy? Of course, in CIS terms that would be "runnign full staff", so I am not surprised.
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    "Did not they try to bring workers for a while, and then closed the plan and declared bankruptcy? Of course, in CIS terms that would be "runnign full staff", so I am not surprised."

    CIS full of crap. Ask them why programmer wages continue to go down despite reductions in H1B visas. It will work for poultry as the industry is well far as I know, no foreign chicken sold in the US...foreign lamb and fish but no chicken. CIS will also not tell you that we are paying higher prices and that higher price means a poor family will not be able to afford chicken.

  5. Jack's Avatar
    Greg keeps saying that the claims about the undocumented and health care reform are false but nothing about the policy of exclusion itself. It is curious that so many in the 'immigrant rights community' are not even questioning let alone opposing this and their silence appears to be tacit approval of Obama's discriminatory policy. Why aren't these activists outraged by what Luis Guiterrez calls "prejudice against our community"? Greg's obsession with whether Wilson 'did or did not ever practice immigration law' seems pretty meaningless by comparison.

    Referring to the Obama administration, Gutierrez said: "Those who should be our friends, our allies, are more and more giving Rep. (Joe) Wilson, R-S.C., exactly what he wants to continue with this prejudice against our community."

    "What is the administration's answer?" asked Gutierrez. "To give [Rep. Joe Wilson] exactly what he said from this hatred."

    When asked about the criticism from Gutierrez, a White House official told ABC News: "The President has been clear since the campaign that he does not intend to for health insurance reform to cover undocumented immigrants.

  6. Another voice's Avatar
    Why would you spend political capital that can only make this uphill battle harder by supporting the Gutierrez position when you can shut up the republicans by going along with their stupid position and then you can do CIR and allow the immigrant community to buy Health coverage through the plan. It seems smart, dumb would be to do what JACK is proposing... Gutierrez is a politician and has to save face with his supporters but he know where the president is coming from, even you should figure that one out Jack.
  7. Jack's Avatar
    'by going along with their stupid position and then you can do CIR and allow the immigrant community to buy Health coverage through the plan'

    That's obviously the plan--save your powder. This is allowing what Greg calls the 'antis' to move the needle past affordability credits all the way to where you can't even buy in. Is there anything even beyond this for Obama to concede?

    The capitulation plan has two shortcomings: 1) what if CIR fails again? 2) even if amnesty is granted, the next wave of undocumented will be stuck with all the barriers hand written by the 'antis' and the undocumented will be stuck until the NEXT amnesty (if it ever comes).

    I find it interesting that activists who consistently favor full rights for the undocumented when it comes to presence, right to work, drivers licences, etc. are as usual calling FAIR and talk radio hosts racists, but by not opposing the exclusion of the undocumented effectively share the same policy position on health care access as who they call merchants of hate. This is glaringly inconsistent and if the sneaky 'we'll just give them amnesty' CIR plan fails, they will have 'played themselves'. This is why some of the activists wanted CIR first and now you have Gutierrez breaking ranks and talking about using the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to hold healthcare reform hostage and making a big mess of both healthcare and CIR. I could tell he was getting sick of being placated and might try to force the issue on his terms and timetable.
  8. frank a bowers's Avatar
    The religious folks here forget; that, they are but one race and many nationalities. The word racism is not a word of the Bible as God only created one human race. When are the insane religious folks going to start using nationality I do not know, but racism is not a word from the Bible, but from the ignorant.
    The fact is that there is no job in America that an Ameircan will not do. The big companies found a way to save money, hire illegal and pay no tax for them and no insurance as they are not married with family, the women just happen to have babies like Mother Mary, forcing the government to pay for them out of my tax dollars and FREE TO THEM AND MEXICO.
  9. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "The fact is that there is no job in America that an Ameircan will not do."

    That's true. However, when you have 10,000 job openings and only 500 Americans willing to do those jobs, then you have to hire a Mexican. And there is no job in America a Mexican won't do - and do well.
  10. Jack's Avatar
    The official White House position:

    "The president has been clear since the campaign that he does not intend for health insurance reform to cover undocumented immigrants," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while discussing official White House policy.


    But after comments to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, some in the MSM are implying Obama's adamant exclusion of illegal aliens from healthcare is disingenous--he just wants to change their label. More clever than clear.


    The President's Promise Not to Insure Illegal Immigrants Isn't as Simple as it Sounds

    The President says he won't extend health care benefits to illegal immigrants through the health care reform bill that he ultimately signs.

    But he may do so indirectly through immigration reform.


    The slickness of the plan is starting to draw comparisons to...

    'So it turns out that Obama's explanation to Congress and the country about illegal immigrants and healthcare reform isn't quite the same as what he tells his friends when he thinks America isn't watching. As a matter of parsing words and splitting hairs, the distinctions are positively Clintonian in their brilliance.'

    Most people don't like Joe Wilson's manners but Obama's insistence on this issue makes him look distrustful the more people come to think Wilson had a point.

    Ruben Navarette:

    'So who [Obama or Joe Wilson] is right? Here's the most honest answer: It's hard to say.'

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