Sunday, June 04, 2006

Although a repeat, tonight's 60 Minutes story on illegal immigrants was worth reshowing. The following crystallizes the idiocy of the far right on this issue, looking to demonize people who are a crucial component in our national economy:
The government says crossing the border through the desert is breaking the law, but Cornelius says the U.S. is sending a very mixed message.

"The message that we’re sending them is if you can get past the obstacle course at the border, you’re essentially home free. You have pretty much unrestricted access to our labor market and there are employers out there eager for your labor," he says.

About six million illegal migrants are now working in the U.S. The meatpacking industry is one of the many that rely on illegal immigrant labor. Seven years ago, the Immigration Service cracked down on illegal migrants in plants in Nebraska and Iowa.

Mark Reed was in charge of the operation.

"What we did is we pulled together the meatpacking industry in the states of Nebraska and Iowa and brought them into Washington and told them that we were not going to allow them to hire any more unauthorized workers. Within 30 days over 3,500 people fled the meatpacking industry in Nebraska," says Reed.

"We proved that the government without doubt had the capacity to deny employment to unauthorized workers," says Reed.

What happened next?

"We were invited to leave Nebraska by the same delegation that invited us in. The bottom line issue was, please leave our state before you ruin our economy," says Reed.

"The reason is that by putting that factory out of business, not only do we put the unauthorized workers out of business, but we’ve put United States citizens out of business and we destroy, we have the potential to destroy, an entire community," says Reed.

Reed says that this illegal work force is "essential" to our economy.

So what are taxpayers getting for the billions of dollars spent on border security?

"Getting a good story," says Reed. But not a secure border.

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