CommunityPam's House Blend

American Slave Labor Camps… coming soon!

The House Republicans are going nutzoid (moreso) over the illegal immigration issue and the Pretzeldunce’s plan to create temporary worker programs for illegals, otherwise known as “let’s keep exploiting cheap Mexican labor, but we’ll just make it legal.”

“I say let the prisoners pick the fruits,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, one of more than a dozen Republicans who took turns condemning a Senate bill that offers an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants an opportunity for citizenship.

Yeah, prison labor camps, that’s the ticket! Why, we already have more than 2 million Americans in prison, a figure greatly exacerbated by the War On (Some Taxpaying American Citizens Using Non-Alcoholic, Non-Pharmaceutical, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, so let’s put them to work in the fields already!

It’s not enough that we have already turned our prison populations into de facto slave labor camps. Many American companies do telemarketing, ticket booking, and other odd jobs through prison labor that is paid less than 50¢ per hour. Think of it as “insourcing” — the legal way to get around paying Chinese or Indonesian women and children only pennies an hour by paying incarcerated American men and women pennies an hour.

With prison labor, you get hundreds of thousands of prisoners, many in prison for simple drug possession, most of whom are non-violent, and you get them cheap, and you don’t have to pay their health care costs, retirement costs, or anything related to housing or transportation. Plus, they are easy to control, have virtually no absenteeism, and are so bored to death that any menial labor task seems refreshing.

Now if you send those prisoners off to the fields, even better. Especially if you make a law that declares all illegal immigrants to be felons. Then you can round them up, send ’em to prison, and they’ll be back out in those fields, working for even less money in worse conditions and have no freedom at all. That’s what the American Dream is all about, isn’t it?

America was built on the backs of slave labor. It made us the richest country in the world. Now those rich men in power are doing everything they can to get back to the good ol’ days. It started long ago with “Right to Work (Cheaply and Without Union Protection)” laws in a handful of states, it was empowered by Reagan busting the air traffic controllers’ union in 1982, and it continues today with the outsourcing of American manufacturing and telecommunications jobs to cheap third world labor, the insourcing of cheap American prison labor, and the “wink wink nudge nudge” policies that declare “an immigration invasion” and how these illegals are destroying our country, wage base, and taxpayer monies spent on social services, yet do virtually nothing to punish the big business rich white dudes employing these illegals.

And don’t think for a second that this has nothing to do with race. I don’t think a call for creating a new underclass of 11 million white-faced felons would gather a whole lot of support. Those bitching loudest about the illegal immigrants, how they take away American jobs, how they cost so much in Medicare and schools and emergency rooms, why, they are the same people who never met an American job they wouldn’t outsource, downsize, or sub-contract; they are the same people who never met a social program’s budget they could just trim down until 45 million people have no health insurance and kids learn on thirty-year-old textbooks in classes of 45 in buildings that leak. And they’ll say it all without a hint of irony as they move in to their inexpensive and newly-constructed home while drinking a $1.50 glass of orange juice and sitting on their freshly-landscaped lawn calling for Juanita the nanny to put their Wal-Mart-purchased shirt in the dryer before heading out to the drive-thru to pick up a $10 bag of cheeseburgers.

I’ve worked in the fields of Idaho… not long, but long enough to know it was the shittiest job I ever had. If someone risks life and limb to swim across the Rio Grande, lives hand-to-mouth in lousy accommodations, struggles with not knowing the native language, faces racism and anti-immigrant prejudice every day, and endures backbreaking work without a whisper of complaint due to fears of La Migra, then by golly, they’ve proved to me they want to be a hardworking contributing member of American society. It’s a shame that people who truly want to live the American dream are shunned, but teenage couch potatoes lucky enough to have had parents who screwed here and stuck around are instantly citizens, free to loaf on the couch and not put in as much work in a week than a migrant worker puts in before sunrise every day.

I don’t have the answers to all the immigration questions, but I know the answers do not lie in making migrant workers instant felons, erecting walls along the border, or turning our prisoners into slave labor. I think the answers lie somewhere in the spirit of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” (and not just the pale-faced ones, either…)

[Tambi?Šn publicado en la “Escritura Radical”]

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