Friday, August 1, 2008

Talkin' About Law & Order

Neocons who scream against “illegal aliens” are all for Law and Order. One July 27 counter-protestor’s sign in Postville IA (site of ICE raid May 12) read “What would Jesus Do? Obey the Law.” Leaving aside her failure to grasp the Christian Scripture, we can accept her emphasis on obedience as characteristic of the right wing.

Good. Let’s all obey the law. Let’s enforce all the laws. Let’s begin at the top of the Postville, IA food chain.

Point 1: Federal Government
Congress heard testimony July 24 that the government process used to arrest and convict undocumented workers in Iowa in May was illegal and violated the immigrants’ due process rights. Our democratic principles hang in the balance; “a line was crossed at Postville” according to government interpreter Erik Camayd-Freixas.

Point 2: State Government
Residents of Iowa should enjoy the protection of the state’s Civil Rights Commission and the Department of the Attorney General. Children should not be sent out of state without parental consent and approval. Some alarming initial (although as yet undocumented) reports from Postville indicate this may have occurred after the raid.

Point 3: Agriprocessors
Corporations need to follow the laws of the land. When corporate employees provide illegal identification to workers, there must be corporate accountability for their actions and corporate repercussions for the failure to adequately monitor. Why has no upper management been charged at Agriprocessors?

Further, the New York Times reported on July 27 that when federal agents raided the kosher meatpacking plant in May and rounded up 389 illegal immigrants, they found more than 20 under-age workers, some as young as 13. Perhaps our nation needs to first regulate “illegal jobs” as a means of regulating illegal immigration. Let’s put the emphasis on the proper syllable.

While conservatives beller about “protecting our borders,” the Constitution, the labor laws, the environment, our moral system, and our family values are teetering. Let’s think about protecting the core and the foundation of our nation before we get overly concerned about the margins.


Mariamariacuchita said...

Great points. Thanks for pointing this out. Are there ever any real sanctions against the companies hiring underage workers, or do they even look look closely enough at the people they hire to notice who they are?

This ethnic invisibility and willingness to exploit others is appalling. Again, what would Jesus do? I sort of recall him tearing the Temple apart over the exploitation of the moneylenders. Wonder what he would do to Congress and ICE if he was here now.

Border Explorer said...

For God's sakes, if Agriprocessors doesn't get some kind of sanctions with teeth for what has come to light since the raid, I give up.

Someone knowledgable told me last weekend that the congressman from that district has received significant funding from the Agriprocessor family owners. At any rate, it appears that said congressman has had nothing to say about the situation. Go figure.

Randal Graves said...

Law and order for thee, etc etc. There's your rule of law.

Sure is funny that big business, the ones who benefit the most from breaking the law get absolved legally, and in the popular discourse, while those trying to eek out a living are the only possible face of The Other.

The bad guy isn't the dark-skinned dude trying to make a buck, it's the pasty-faced guy in the suit and tie, the one who gets the laws sculpted to his whims.

D.K. Raed said...

Big biz is big & impersonal. The guys (sorry, they usually are guys) don't give a moment's thought to how their product is made or who makes it. I think the very concept of BIG in agribiz is bad ... bad for the land, bad for the consumer, bad for the environment, and now (as you have shown) bad for the employees. Smaller farms knew their workers. When a businessowner knows someone, he are more likely to be concerned with providing them decent working conditions & wages. It's hard to look someone you know in the eye & treat them like dross. But the big biz guys are insulated from that interaction & we see where that leads. They worship at the altar of profit to the god of commerce who apparently does NOT care about every little human.

(ok, don't mind me, I am generally pissed at all big biz, tired of them raping the economy & controlling the world, using the cover of a corporation being a separate legal entity to justify them not being personally responsible for all manner of atrocious behavior)

Border Explorer said...

I feel lucky that you two read my blog. Thanks for your comments, Randal and D.K. You've said it well.

Missy said...

"Let’s think about protecting the core and the foundation of our nation before we get overly concerned about the margins."


I tend to blame everything on the current administration, but obviously, as you've shown, the trickle down of regulation enforcement is perverse to the very end.

Come to think of it, I do blame everything on the current administration. Protect the core and the foundation. Amen.