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Wednesday, December 27, 2006



I live in one of the towns where Swift has a plant and was recently raided. In a way, we're two faced about this. Many businesses, like Swift, in effect "invite" people from Mexico to come to work for them. Most of the time, the government looks the other way. Periodically, we get "shocked" about the situation and round some of them up and send them back for awhile.

So, while it's illegal, it's one of those "wink-wink" illegalities. At least it was in the past. Now that we require more idfentification, we have the serious problem of identity theft.

The only solution to prevent illegal immigration is to prevent the companies from hiring the illegal immigrants or to create a guest worker program if we need them. Building a wall a) will not work, b)is an afront to what we are as a country (the statue of liberty facing east and the the Wall facing south). As a side note, who do you think they will hire to build the wall?

Mostly what worries me the the undercurrent of anger in some circles to these people. Why the anger? Where does it come from?


It is obvious that old Juan's loyalty is with his "tribe." He is not concerned at all for the American citizens who have suffered the negative effects of identity theft. However, the Social Security Administration and IRS do not show much concern for the victims either. In fact, the IRS has told American citizens to pay the back taxes owed by the illegal alien identity thieves. Furthermore, help from the Social Security Administration and law enforcement agencies is, most often, nonexistent. The recent raids on the meat-packing plants are simply window dressing by the administration in anticipation of an amnesty/open borders bill. I find it ironic that the defender of our immigration law in this case is a woman of Filipino descent. People critical of illegal immigration are supposed to be white, xenophobic, racist rednecks.

I grew up in Southern California, and I have seen the negative effects of uncontrolled illegal immigration. I now live in Arizona and see the same pattern repeating itself here (coming to a state near you soon!). And now, the White House and Congress are poised to declare illegal immigration to be legal with a proposed amnesty/open borders bill which President Bush likes to refer to, euphemistically, as "comprehensive immigration reform."

Businessmen, whether they are corporate executives or a local contractor, hire illegal aliens because illegal aliens are willing to work for lower wages, fewer benefits, and don't complain or form unions. When President Bush says "they do jobs Americans don't want to do" what he really means is "they do jobs Americans don't won't to do for dirt wages." American citizens once did those meat-packing jobs when the wages were higher and the working conditions safer. To add insult to injury, American citizens must subsidize this cheap labor for big business by paying for health care, schooling and other social services for the illegal alien labor through taxes.

The reason our politicians will probably erase our borders is simply that they will do the bidding of the business interests (money talks), and they wish to pander to what they perceive to be an ever enlarging voter block. They also perceive (correctly) that most American citizens are too apathetic, uninformed and intimidated to raise a storm. We are too busy with our bread and circuses to be bothered with such trivial matters.

As for the illegal immigrants themselves, they are being exploited on both sides of the border. Their home country is controlled by a corrupt oligarchy which maintains the status quo by exporting much of its poverty and many of its social problems to the U.S. The United States serves as a safety valve to let off steam before things explode. The greedy business interests on this side of the border use the cheap illegal alien labor to keep wages low. There is collusion between the greed factor (and their political whores) on both sides of the border.

Add to this mix the fact that Mexico feels it has a historical claim to a large part of U.S. territory and a lack of desire to assimilate (although one might ask "assimilate to what?") and we have a real mess. I am not optimistic. We will soon be past the point of no return. I see a dumbing down and shrinkage of the middle class (don't forget outsourcing) as well as a country divided by "tribes." The only thing we will have in common is a trans-national corporate/consumer culture. You better get used to bi-lingual fast food, Walmart and brain-numbing "entertainment."


Patrick said, “The greedy business interests on this side of the border use the cheap illegal alien labor to keep wages low.”

I’m not sure I’m willing to label them with the “greed” stigma as a whole. Our capitalist system is designed to channel entrepreneurship and freedom into the common economic good. Yes, there are some who are greedy, but most just want to run a solid, profitable business. In order to do this they need to spend less then they bring in. If cheap labor is available, then they take that option. Certainly, their competitors will take it if they don’t.

It’s the role of the government to establish the rules of the game and insure fairness. And so, one of the questions is, “Do we need the workers?” If wages were raised across the board, would there be enough native workers to go into the meat packing plants, work the landscaping and construction business and clean our motel rooms? I don’t pretend to know but I’m sure some kind of unbiased study could be done. If it turns out we need the Mexican workers, then we have a guest worker program and shutdown illegal hiring. If we don’t need the workers, then we shutdown illegal hiring.

What I don’t think will work is enforcement at the border.

One other thing. We should not be afraid of how the Mexican culture will influence the American culture. From day one, America has been built from peoples with ambition and nerve coming to America and merging their culture with the basic American values. We’ve seen it with each immigrant wave over the centuries. Each immigrant wave triggered the doom predictions of losing our culture. Instead, our culture was enhanced. Most of the Mexican people coming here have strong, sound values and will enhance America.


From what I have read, the working conditions in those meat-packing plants has become horrific. Illegal immigrants are being maimed and killed in those places because the corporate executives have ordered the throughput (the speed of the slaughter on the assembly line) to be increased to unsafe levels.

The huge corporations that own those places are not hurting for profits. They simply want an ever growing profit margin. They replace American workers with illegal alien labor because the illegal immigrants won't complain about conditions or wages. The last I heard, there were American citizens (both Caucasian and Hispanic) lined up for the jobs vacated by the roundup of the identity thieves.

As I stated, I grew up in California and I am quite familiar with Mexican culture. In fact, you may be more than a little startled to learn of my own family connections. Also, I have close Mexican-American friends who would endorse everything I stated in my first posted comment without reading any racist or xenophobic attitudes into it. Hispanics American citizens are often the ones hurt the most by the illegal immigration situation.

On the subject of capiltalism, I happen to think that unbridled capitalism is not a good thing. Remember that slavery, child labor, exploitation of workers (dust bowl migrant farm worker, coal miners, etc.) were all justified in the name of capitalism. It was believed that the economy would suffer if we were to put an end to those abuses.

Before anyone accuses me of being a socialist, let me state that I am not an advocate of that system. I happen to be intrigued with the idea of "distributism" as advanced by Catholic thinkers such as Belloc and Chesterton. But, it will never be tried in our lifetime.

We are not doing our Mexican neighbors (or ourselves) a favor by maintaining the current situation or by throwing the borders open to cheap third world labor. Think of how the poor people in Mexico are effected when their most ambitious people leave. Families are split up, towns are half-empty, their political/economic system is not reformed. Nafta...another government/corporate fiasco was suppossed to improve conditions in Mexico. Instead, it had the effect of throwing farmers (and farm labor) in Mexico out of work. Mexico was flooded by cheap, government subsidized products (esp. corn) from the U.S. Manufacturing that was to take place in Mexico shifted to China (the slave labor there is cheaper). We were sold a bill of goods. Nafta profited the corporations but not the poor.

If our political leaders can invade and occupy a nation on the otherside of the world, we should be able to do more to help Mexico reform. But, maybe that isn't profitable for the "right people."

We must also keep in mind that a large number of illegal immigrants are coming from countries other than Mexico. Some fly in on visas and never leave. Most are economic refugees. A sizable minority are here to take advantage of the system. There are even those that are hostile to this counrty. I am from Southern California where there are immigrants from all over the world. I know of immigarnts who cheered when the buildings collapsed in NY on 9/11. There are dangerous gangs from south of the border establishing themselves in large cities and small towns all over the country. We need to be more careful about who we let into the country (OK, call me a racist xenophobe).

Theodore Roosevelt warned that we could become "a polyglot boarding house for the world...a tangle of squabbling minorities." Man, did he have that one called right! I would like to see the globalism thing slow down (yeah, I my dreams). I don't want to live in international corporate run territory where our only common culture is the new E. coli burger at McDonalds or the latest Chinese-slave-labor-made gadget at Walmart.


A few return comments: “From what I have read, the working conditions in those meat-packing plants has become horrific. Illegal immigrants are being maimed and killed in those places.” I live in one of the towns with a Swift plant and know some workers. It’s a tough place to work, but there is no killing and no maiming. There are some accidents, but Swift is under the control of OSHA and other government edicts.

After the 300 people left, there were a number of legal people who applied. But, after 2 weeks, they are still desperate for workers. Again, I don’t know if we need the illegal workers or not and observations at one single plant don’t make a pattern.

I understand about the attitudes of 2nd and 3rd generation Mexican families towards the newcomers. It’s the same in my town. I suspect 2nd or 3rd generation families in all immigrant groups have issues with the recent arrivals. “Tribalism” is not always raced-based.

I understand that a certain percentage of the immigrants form gangs and have criminal activities. All immigrant groups have shown this including the Irish, the Italians, etc. I think this has to do with the transition from one culture to another and the problem of growing up in poverty in a rich country.

I understand all your warnings. I think they are right on. Perhaps I’m foolishly optimistic that history will repeat itself and we will assimilate and grow from these cultures. While I may be foolishly optimistic, I hope I’m not naïve. We need to watch and address these concerns in a forthright and intelligent manner. What I’m really worried about is that we react to them in a hysterical manner; such as building a so-called fence to try to keep them out. Go to China and Berlin if you want to see the lunacy of that approach. I still prefer a guest worker program if we determine we need the labor. With a guest worker program, we get the labor we need and the labor is protected from unscrupulous employers. Also, legals who want jobs would get first priority.

As a side note, I love the Catholicism that the Mexican culture has brought to my town. There’s not room to go into it, but it might be worthy of another thread.


From St. Petersburg Times, 2001:

Want to curb those cravings for a cheeseburger?

Take a spin through an IBP meat packing plant in Nebraska, where the air smells of burning hair, blood, grease and rotten eggs.

Such plants once killed 175 cows per hour, but demand for more fast-food burgers means they now slaughter up to 400 per hour, creating working conditions reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

Recent immigrants are paid low wages to work in the most dangerous jobs, with injury rates three times higher than a typical U.S. factory. Lose a finger and you'll probably get $2,200 in compensation. On good days, the line slows a bit because they're filling orders shipped to Europe, which has stricter standards on meat processing than the United States.

It's rare that the Feds step in to levy fines at such sweatshops. OSHA is grossly underfunded and understaffed, thanks to constant budget cuts that leave millions of inspections to a handful of agents. If a meat packing plant's own injury logs show a safe workplace, OSHA stays away....


95% of the outstanding Los Angeles murder warrants are for illegal aliens

66% of outstanding Los Angeles felony warrants are for illegal aliens

50+% of gangbangers in the deadliest and most violent Los Angeles gangs are illegal aliens

25+% of prison inmates in California are illegal aliens

And this doesn't even address, for example, the issue of the wholesale refusal of illegal aliens to assimilate, or their overwhelming of public services, or the overcrowding, or the depression of wages for semi-skilled labor of the existing non-illegal working class (we wring our hands over the fate of illegals, then blithely ignore the fate of American citizens who have seen their economic futures measureably harmed).

Meanwhile, 1/7th of the Mexican workforce is in the U.S., harming their native social structures and rendering them a large, isolated, young-adult male population in a foreign country ... with predictably negative results.

All in all a tragic situation.


why is this being discussed here?


As a Catholic I must say that the Catholic Church – on a matter of principle – does not condone an open boarders policy. The Catholic Church – on a matter of principle – condones people obeying the law.

It needs to be discussed Jesse because a lot of people have the idea that misplaced compassion for illegal immigrants is part of Catholic teaching. (Including some Bishops! Sigh . . .)


There’s a couple things I’d like to bring to the discussion. First, I am not angry so much as I am frustrated. I live in Southern California where I personally know many, many people who can not afford to buy homes because of the huge tax burden we have here for educating and providing free medical care for Mexico’s indigent population.

What further fuels my frustration, and people don’t like to talk about this, is the fact that these people are frequently at the mercy of human traffickers, who typically are thoroughly evil people who also smuggle drugs and weapons in addition to people. By fueling the ILLEGAL immigration you perpetuate a system where people are taken advantage of in horrible ways, and sometimes die, trying to get into the U.S. and the people who profit and criminals and thugs. The only way to put a stop to that is to make sure people only come in through the front door so we know who they are and what they are up to. And that means build the fence yesterday.

So, the reason why I’m frustrated is that after the smugglers make their money, and the taxpayers foot the bills for all sorts of stuff for the people who do survive the journey of sneaking into our country and end up living here even though they have no legal right to be in this country, then we have people demanding we give them full rights of citizens. That’s outrageous.

Our government has a right to decide who comes into the country and who does not. Our government has d right and the duty to its citizens to protect our sovereign borders. I’m not even going to argue with anyone about whether or not we need to fill these jobs with these workers because I know what we don’t need as a country and a society is the mess they bring along with them. Swift and other companies like them can pay people more and fill those jobs as far as I’m concerned. I’ll pay more for meat when I buy it – but let me decide, don’t take that choice from me and fill the road with unlicensed drivers and the schools and emergency rooms with people who are breaking the law by being here and taking advantage of our system.

The real and only question David is are people following the rules set up for everyone else or are they breaking the law and then demanding we get rid of the law because they don’t like it and want to get around it? The man in this clip is a stone’s throw from extortion in my opinion. He is basically saying, “Well, we wouldn’t have to steal your identity, mess up your taxes, credit at great personal expense and time to people who are victims if you would just give us whatever we want and treat like a citizen anyone who can sneak into your country.” We wouldn’t steal from you if you would just hand over the money. How dare he?

I’m not angry. I’m just frustrated they don’t respect our country or it’s laws or border.


It has become common place around here to second guess the bishops of the church and the work they do. Will you also second guess the words of the holy father?



I read the the document (MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI FOR THE 93rd WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES) at the URL you provided. The document seems to address situations such as the sexual exploitation of women in refugee camps and lonely exchange students (who I assume did not break any immigration laws). It does not state that a nation must throw open its borders for unlimited numbers of people who want to enter for economic reasons. Most of the Church documents I have seen reaffirm the right of nations to have sovereign borders and laws governing immigration.

I would like to ask Juan (who appears in the video link) if he would be in favor of the United States adopting the same approach to immigration that Mexico uses on its southern border. Perhaps our immigration agents should engage in the same practices that Mexican police use on immigrants from Central America who enter Mexico illegally. Why isn't Juan fighting for migrant rights in Mexico? Could it be that he would land in jail or a ditch somewhere?

I think the Papal document cited above is directed more to a situation like the one that exists in Mexico where illegal immigrants from Central America are regularly beaten, robbed, and raped by Mexican law enforcement before they are sent back across the border. The civilian population does not treat these "migrants" too well either.

Illegal immigrants residing in the United States have it better than they would in any other country in the world. Yet, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants take to our streets making demands and waving Mexican flags. If Americans were to try mounting such a protest in Mexico they would be arrested. There is a law in Mexico which prohibits non-citizens from staging such protests.

"If buttercups buzz'd after the bee,
If boats were on land, churches on sea,
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse,
If the mamas sold their babies
To the gypsies for half a crown;
If summer were spring and the other way round,
Then all the world would be upside down."



What I was writing about in particular are One Cardinal and one Bishop who have openly spoken - speaking in their capacity as leader of the Church - for openness to illegal immigrants when this is not Church teaching but their opinions.

I am not one to bash Bishops or Cardinals. It pains me so much to have to criticize Church leaders that I don't even want to name them here. I am not one to second-guess our Church leaders as a matter of course; in fact it hurts me to have to do so at all.

But for a Cardinal, for example, to write an Op-Ed piece in a major national newspaper, and speaking in his capacity as Cardinal, that we should welcome illegal immigrants since they bring "spiritual gifts" to our country, it's more than inappropriate - it's embarrassing. I don’t like to criticize our Church leaders but I like it less when they use their role as leaders to speak on subjects where Church teaching allows for reasonable people to disagree. By them doing so, it gives the impression that they are providing the Church perspective when it’s not – it’s just how they feel. Their role should be more instructive and they should be looking out for their flock and their priests to make sure people clearly know Church teaching.

(I then quietly am sad that these same leaders don’t write Op-Ed pieces on matters where the Church DOES have a clear teaching like abortion when we have a million and a half of those every year, or so-called “gay” marriage when that sacrament is under attack. I am sad because I wonder if they don’t have the desire or courage to write on those topics or if the paper just wouldn’t print them.)


Juan’s answer would be, “not only no, but hell no.” You don’t even have to ask him.

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