Doing the Jobs Americans Won't Do (to Stop People from Doing the Jobs Americans Won't Do)

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During the Republican primary in Arizona's gubernatorial race, Don Goldwater (nephew of Barry) basically imploded after opponents pounced on his idea of putting captured illegal immigrants "down to work, there on the border, to build the fence that we so desparately need."

As it happens, Goldwater the Lesser was ahead of the curve.

Executives of Golden State Fence pled guilty to hiring illegal immigrants. The executives may serve jail time in addition to paying nearly $5 million in fees. Their attorney told NPR that the case proves construction companies need guest workers.

This wasn't any fence company. Golden State Fence had a hand in building San Diego's border wall in the 1990s. The San Diego fence served as a model for the recently passed but still underfunded 700-mile border fence because it successfully stopped immigrants from crossing at points along its 14-mile stretch.

Snark aplenty over at the Los Angeles Times op-ed blog.

NEXT: Sensitivity Lessons with the U.S. State Department

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  1. Illegal = Illegal

  2. All hail thoreau! The mighty sage of Hit & Run. I give you his comment from last May:

    thoreau | May 17, 2006, 9:48am | #
    JW-

    Well, if we arrest millions of people, wouldn’t it make sense to force them to earn their keep while imprisoned? Maybe we could force all the illegal immigrants to do agricultural and construction work.

    Oh, wait…

  3. Illegal ? Wrong

  4. (Illegal ? Wrong) = blind ideologue

  5. Jose = Jane?

  6. Oh right Jose, that’s why Harriet Tubman is as reviled as John Wilkes Booth, because the law is always right and breaking it is always wrong.

  7. ? = !=

    Geeky SQL fun.

  8. “Oh right Jose, that’s why Harriet Tubman is as reviled as John Wilkes Booth, because the law is always right and breaking it is always wrong.”

    So you’re saying all Mexicans are slaves to the Mexican government and we must do whatever it takes to free them?

  9. S?. Ayudame por favor, mi salvador americano.

  10. (Illegal ? Wrong) = blind ideologue

    ? Laws?
    ? Legal Codes?
    ? Governments???

  11. i guess putting them to work on the fence displays at least some capacity for irony

  12. Jose (If that IS your real name. Which I totally believe. Not),

    “So you’re saying all Mexicans are slaves to the Mexican government and we must do whatever it takes to free them?”

    Uh, no. He’s saying that Harriet Tubman was not being a “blind ideologue” when she violated the law, and declared that breaking it was the right thing to do.

  13. Didn’t Carlos Mencia have a sketch about Mexican illegals building the fence, being asked to inspect the southern side and then being sealled off from getting back in?

  14. Is anybody else diggin’ the snazzy retro of Golden State Fence Co’s logo?

    And Jose, if Illegal == Wrong, then you’re saying that Hariet Tubman is wrong. Unless you’re a blind ideologue like the rest of us. Can’t have it both ways, either you are a blind ideologue, or you don’t believe that Illegal == Wrong.

    It works like this.

    If Illegal == Wrong,
    and Harriet Tubman’s underground railroad work == Illegal
    Then Harriet Tubman’s underground railroad work == Wrong.

    Now, it’s clearly documented that Harriet Tubman’s underground railroad work was illegal at the time. We can’t get away from that. So either Harriet Tubman == Wrong, or Illegal != Wrong.

    Actually, I would say that since Jose is clearly a blind ideologue, judging by his responses here, that perhaps Harriet Tubman really was wrong, at least in his mind. So by proving that he’s a blind ideologue, he’s proved that Harriet Tubman isn’t wrong, and maybe that illegal immigration isn’t [i]ipso facto[/i] wrong. O torturous logic! Why do you mock us so?

  15. Having lived in San Diego for a time, I was not surprised by the undocumented workers at the fence company.

    However, I was quite impressed that the execs may serve jail time. I wasn’t aware that execs ever got jail time in these cases. I think that is a step in the right direction toward getting this “illegal” immigrant stuff sorted better than it is sorted now.

    I think some jailhouse interviews with fallen execs would be the just the type of thing to make Americans more reasonable on immigration issues. I think there is a deep theory Of The Leisure Class instinct embedded deep in red State Americans that makes them recoil at the actual site of execs behind bars, and would make them more willing to compromise on these issues than they have been in the past.

    Don’t think executives “facing jail time” cuts it though. I think we need John Stossel actually talking to a stern, grey haired man dressed in orange sitting on an obviously sore butt to get that coin to drop in red State America.

    Hopefully, this’ll be the case and these the execs (I would prefer the head of Tyson, tho).

  16. How many people line up in the Golden State parking lot in response to a “help wanted” ad?

  17. I give up. How many?

  18. However, I was quite impressed that the execs may serve jail time. I wasn’t aware that execs ever got jail time in these cases. I think that is a step in the right direction toward getting this “illegal” immigrant stuff sorted better than it is sorted now.

    If imprisoning employers for hiring illegal immigrants works so well, the US should apply it to the drug war too. If your company employs someone who uses illegal drugs, you are obligated to recognize it and turn him in. If you don’t, you go to prison.

    That idea just might fix the problem of illegal drugs once and for all!

  19. I can already see this is going to be another one of those threads where we find out which programming language people are using right now.

    /=
    !=

    ?
    .NE. .EQ.

  20. Err, the squirrels ate my Pascal <> after it showed up in the preview.

  21. I think some jailhouse interviews with fallen execs would be the just the type of thing to make Americans more reasonable on immigration issues.

    Actually, I agree with you. Just as interviewing Nelson Mandela in prison was a big step in getting people to recognize the patent immorality of a system that denies employment and residence rights based on a condition of birth, interviewing executives in prison would be a big step in getting people to recognize the patent immorality of a system that denies employment and residence rights based on a condition of birth.

  22. If imprisoning employers for hiring illegal immigrants works so well, the US should apply it to the drug war too. If your company employs someone who uses illegal drugs, you are obligated to recognize it and turn him in. If you don’t, you go to prison.

    If that happened, us anti-WODers might actually start getting some support from large corporations. Large corporations want us lil folks to stroke’em good when it comes to McCain-Feingold or VIOXX suits, but I hear nary a peep out of these companies when it comes to the portions of libertarianism tat might benefit me.

    Fair whether friends likie that I can do without, at least when it comes to my politics. If you think jailing a few execs in the WOD would get these lazy corps off their corporate a**es and into our corner on the WOD stuff, then I am certainly willing to give it a try. Status quo just ain’t working for me on this.

  23. Er, wouldn’t the corps just test everybody?

  24. If you think jailing a few execs in the WOD would get these lazy corps off their corporate a**es and into our corner on the WOD stuff, then I am certainly willing to give it a try. Status quo just ain’t working for me on this.

    I was making a point with a joke. I’m not so sure about you.

  25. Er, wouldn’t the corps just test everybody?

    Not good enough. If you aren’t testing aggressively enough, you get raided by DEA for noncompliance of the Drug Free Workplace Law. If you are testing too aggressively, you are of course in jeopardy of violating employee rights.

    Can’t happen? Think again

    But even that isn’t the end of the cruel twists of Swift’s story. Far from ignoring or shrugging off the law, the firm has been trying to comply with it. When job applicants started showing up with what the company suspected were false papers, it tried inquiring into their backgrounds — only to be sued for discrimination by the Justice Department.

    When the government created a program meant to help employers verify that their workers were in the country legally by checking Social Security numbers against a central database, Swift was among the first to sign up. And when that program didn’t seem to be catching the worst offenders — people using not false Social Security cards but stolen ones — Swift came to Washington to testify in Congress about the problem. The reward: That was precisely the offense that ICE raided the company for on Tuesday.

  26. The problem of hispanic immigration is simply magnitude. Birthrates are dropping in most of the source Latin countries, but not fast enough. Mexicans assimilate as fast as previous immigrants, but the single source nature of their immigration – transforming many rural and semi-rural communities in less than a decade is probably more that a democratic political system can sustain.

    Economically, the losers out-number the winners among the native population. A UC Berkeley study in the late 1980s showed that the process transfers huge quantities of wealth from the native working class to the wealthier portion of society.

    Even though most of the media defends massive illegal immigration and the senior media people have their illegal housekeepers, gardeners and day laborers, the growing discontent and the associateed backlash would be too much for the elites to succeed in sustaining the current open border system and illegal employment system.

    They recognize that and want to replace the current system with a combination of illegal workers and legal guest workers. They want the illegals to sustain a high degree of power over the labor force, temp work, benefit erosion and wages, but they are willing to “compromise” and reduce the levels enough to slow the rising political discontent.

    I expect that a guest worker program will pass in the coming Congress and that things won’t change much otherwise in the coming two years.

    However, I also think that the “throw the bigotted, great unwashed a bone” approach will not work, and illegal immigration will be a very big issue in the 2008 election cycle.

  27. Don’t you understand that the wall has nothing to do with immigration? A wall that keeps people out also keeps people in. It will come to that in the next 50 years.

  28. I was making a point with a joke. I’m not so sure about you.

    I am trying to convince you that what you suggested in jest is actually a good idea in reality (even though it ain’t gonna happen).

    I am also suggesting that the companies who fund this blog go public with some strong anti-WOD statements. I am suggesting that they “owe it to us,” in a moral sense, for our glowing appreciation of them over the years.

    They listened to me on cutting back the HFCS, so I think they may listen to me on this, too.

    Can’t fault a guy for trying.

  29. If you are testing too aggressively, you are of course in jeopardy of violating employee rights.

    …rights. Good one. Now I know you’re joking.

    As to the lawsuit, maybe Swift could try not discriminating?

    Since 1990, Swift & Company’s Worthington, Minnesota plant allegedly engaged in a pattern or practice of citizenship status discrimination and unfair documentary practices during the hiring process against U.S. citizens who were believed to look or sound “foreign” and lawful work-authorized immigrants. Such individuals were subject to greater scrutiny during the employment verification process than individuals who appeared to be U.S. citizens.

    It’s not the checks; It’s the racial bias.

  30. They listened to me on cutting back the HFCS, so I think they may listen to me on this, too.

    You know, if the government starts imprisoning executives for including high fructose corn syrup in foods — like they are starting to punish restauranteurs for including transfats — then maybe we’ll get more rational legislation on sugar import restrictions and corn subsidies.

    Fascism. It’s the new path to freedom!

    That was a joke.

  31. You know, if the government starts imprisoning executives for including high fructose corn syrup in foods — like they are starting to punish restauranteurs for including transfats — then maybe we’ll get more rational legislation on sugar import restrictions and corn subsidies.

    I was goingto get around to those suggestions if the private sector didn’t get its act together on its own. Diabetes is serious business.

    Happily the private sector is getting its act together without the need for government intrusion. that makes me a happy libertarian, happy to see that some of this private sector triumphalism has some basis in fact.

    I have even raised a Pepsi here in a toast to Pepsico’s great good sense.

    That is not a joke.

  32. The comparison between Nelson Mandela and people who hire illegal immigrants breaks down when you consider that illegal immigrants are attractive hires specifically because their vulernability makes them easily exploitable – they can’t negotiate/organize as freely, or complain about working conditions, because of de facto collaboration between unscrupulous employers and the government to deport them.

    Nelson Mandela’s political activism on belhalf of black South Africans didn’t involve him in their exploitation, and he wasn’t in practice partnering with the Apartheid regime to take advantage of them.

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