Immigration

Tancredo's World

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In Colorado, crackdowns on illegal immigration have caused a shortage of agricultural labor. So farmers have contracted with the state's Corrections Department to have prisoners bring in the harvest , at the slave wage of about 60 cents per day.

Better a convicted felon pick peppers at gunpoint than a willing, eager foreigner desperate to support his family. There's like, American culture and values at stake. Or something like that.

NEXT: The Madness of Patrick Fitzgerald

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  1. I’m wondering how long it will take before someone realizes that many of the inmates working in these fields just happen to be illegal immigrants. The political, social, and human rights arguments that would follow such realizations will be very entertaining.

  2. This is National Socialism approaching it’s logical extream.

    I can’t wait for some other Colorado politician suggest the State take the farms and annex the land to the prisons for greater efficiency.

    Jailing the farmers would help with the lack of farm management talent in the prison polulation.

  3. joe,

    I’m wondering how long it will take before someone realizes that many of the inmates working in these fields just happen to be illegal immigrants.

    If it is the same story I caught on the news yesterday, the farmers themselves realize this and are complaining to the State that their laborers are running away due to this enforcement policy.

  4. I wonder what would happen if the farmers offered a competitive wage that people would actually work for and/or came up with a way to harvest their crops using less people (ie: machinery).

    Just sayin.

  5. Andy,

    Check the open thread from the weekend. It was suggested there but the fairy defense fource chose to discuss other things.

    They could automate, like many European farms did, or they could actually offer wages and conditions that will attract labor for that work. I doubt that getting rid of minimum wage laws would do anything to that labor market, but my suspicions of needing to offer higher than current minimum wage could be wrong.

    Different State, related topic, when the meat packing plants were raided a few months ago and their illegal workers carted off, I enjoyed the pictures of long lines forming to apply for those jobs by locals.

  6. There are no socio-eoconomic costs to importing a large underclass made up of young males.

    Illegal aliens are just people who want to work hard at the jobs Americans won’t do *.

    And anyone who suggests otherwise is a racist.

    So say we all.

    * at the low wages American employers want to get away paying.

  7. I have no problem with prisoners being used as slaves. There is no way that could be abused.

    In fact, we should send all the felons to mine uranium up on the moon. Lunar penal slave colonies are frak’n cool.

  8. Andy,

    But if farm labor wages go up, then the farm product prices go up. If farm produce prices go up, then wholesalers will look to other sources for produce and the local farms will shut down.

    So the local politicians have an incentive to keep the local farmers happy. Because, you know, we can’t lose our Coloradan watermelon farms!

  9. Xmas:

    Of course, you are referring to the Great Watermelon Riot that happend in 1874, which is totally ignored by our contemporary historians.

    I’m writing an article for Wikkipedia as we speak.

  10. Well, we’ve got 2 million men in prison, about a third for drug crimes and another third for property crimes like fraud and theft. The remaining third are violent felons that need to remain in lockdown. That should leave about 1.3 million available for slavery.

    Incarceration is already an industry and this is just the next logical step: Build more prisons in rural areas to provide employment for the locals as guards, lease out the convicts at slave wages to local farmers and, hell, everybody is happy. Well, except maybe the convicts, but that’s OK. These guys will work for wages not even illegal aliens would take.

    It’s ingenious. What a great country this is.

  11. In my country, farm imprison YOU!

  12. The agriculture industry is the one industry (multi billion dollar industry) which does not have to modernize or compete with foreign nations. We have a crackdown on illegal immigration and the industry falls apart? What a joke. Can GM and Ford bring in a boat load of Chinese to help them out? How about actually competing in the world market, paying people what ever it takes to pick your fruit/vegetables, modernizing or going out of business?

    Why is the agriculture industry the one industry which does not need to compete in a free market? Just about every shoe, clothing, electronics company (and on and on and on) has gone out of business in this country because we can not compete with Chinese slave labor. There are strawberries grown in other parts of the world. Why do I have to subsidize the millionaire strawberry farm owner/company with his slave labor? Illegal alien or prisoner.

  13. Xmas,

    Yep, that is the way things happen in our new Socialist Republic.

    Even the buggy whip manufacturers found a new market. What is wrong with these farmers doing the same?

  14. You know, I’m pretty sure that much of the anger about illegals would vanish if the anchor baby issue was resolved. Or at least resolved conclusively.

    Anyone done any reading on this? From my cursory research it seems that the natural born citizen clause (Fourteenth Amendment) was not originally conceived to grant citizenship to the children of people illegally in the United States (though it would apply to persons here on temporary visas and for other legitimate travel purposes). Modern interpretations apparently haven’t done a good job of taking the debate around the 14th amendment into account, records of which are readily available.

    Feeling on immigration aside, has anyone here looked into this more? Judging from my conservative friends (anecdotal), I think that a clarification on this point, or perhaps even a legislative clarification, would kill off maybe half of the vitriol surrounding this issue. My conservative friends aren’t racists, but I think they have a very gut-level reaction to the idea of citizenship being granted by way of an initially illegal act.

    Thoughts?

  15. You know, I’m pretty sure that much of the anger about illegals would vanish if the anchor baby issue was resolved.

    I think you’re onto something there, damon. At a minimum, getting rid of anchor babies for illegals has got to be part of reducing the incentives to be here illegally.

  16. Federally-mandated, tax-payer funded abortions for all illegal immigrants?

  17. For clarification, here’s the wiki link on the 14th Amendment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    For people who haven’t cared to remember (and who can blame you) the birthright citizenship clause was put into place as a way to answer questions on the legal status of the children of slaves etc. The case of illegal immigrants was not a focus, and it appears quite debatable as to whether or not this should apply to illegals.

    The language -is- very clear-cut, saying that those born in the US are citizens, but the spirit of the law does not seem to apply here. It doesn’t even seem, from what I’ve read, that illegal immigration was even thought to be a part of this debate at all.

    Flame on?

  18. Prison labor: not just for chinese communists anymore.

  19. Some James,

    Let’s not get crazy. I don’t think any (human) sould thinks that. Maybe a few crazies lurking in the Ozarks. I’m just talking about the idea of not automatically granting citizenship. Apply for it, sure, but no semi-auto-mericans. And I’m not expressly for the position either, but I’ve never seen an honest debate on this that hasn’t: A. Devolved into a shouting match or B. Devolved into “well we should, or we shouldn’t” instead of sticking to original intent.

    Not to say that debate hasn’t happened. I just haven’t seen it.

  20. Screw making the anger of xenophobes disappear. Those people are driven by an ideology, not real-world conditions. That’s why opposition to immigrants is consistently higher in places that have very few of them. We should appease people like that, because it will just embolden them.

  21. More seriously,

    Guy, the meat-packing thing WAS in the same state. And I got the feeling that the photos of all the citizens lining up for the jobs was just a stage-managed PR thing. I’d be curious to see 1) how many actually applied for how many open positions and 2) how many actually accepted the jobs.

    Something I don’t understand: the rationale for “reinterpreting” the 14th Amendment rest behind the argument that the “anchor babies” aren’t really “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US, since their parents came here illegally and therefore don’t respect US law, etc, etc. So if the amendment were reinterpreted in this way, wouldn’t that open the door for stripping anyone (or even the children of anyone) who violated US law of their citizenship? Sure it’s a bit of a slippery slope, but it’s not a huge jump from A to B.

    Anyway, I’m never going to be very taken with the whole “anchor baby” controversy until I see some evidence that it’s a large enough problem to even be considered. This probably applies to such a minuscule number of immigrants that it’s laughable in both proportional or absolute terms.

  22. Joe,

    I’m putting forward this idea not because we should do it for purposes of appeasement, but rather because it ought to be clarified anyway, and the side effect could be to rationalize the debate in general.

    No appeasement here, but if we look at this issue objectively, we might find that the ideologues are correct about their position in this case (anchor babies, not immigration in total). I don’t know is appeasement can be used in regards to clarifying the spirit of a law. If it turns out that the amendment should include illegals and their kids, then yeah, screw the ideologues. If not, well, screw everyone else. Original intent is original intent.

  23. Some James,

    Is it miniscule? I don’t have any figures on that, do you? Maybe it is. I honestly don’t know, but I think on this issue we owe it to ourselves to think about it and make sure our beliefs are true. If there are between 11 and 30 million illegals in the US, then it can’t be that insignificant, can it? I would guess not, but I would be open to evidence to the contrary.

    As for reinterpreting… I don’t actually know if this would be reinterpreting. Maybe “right”-interpreting. Like I said, I’m not an expert on this issue, but from what I’ve seen this is basically a slavery-fallout stop-gap.

    I don’t think the argument could apply to persons who have broken the law after becomming US citizens. That would wander into the territory of stripping citizenship, which is completely different from granting it. The argument, as I understand it, is that these persons are here illegally and are not citizens, so their children should not be granted that gift. I’d have to deffer to someone more aware of the entire debate though, as it has not been a big issue for me.

  24. “The language -is- very clear-cut, saying that those born in the US are citizens, but the spirit of the law does not seem to apply here. It doesn’t even seem, from what I’ve read, that illegal immigration was even thought to be a part of this debate at all.”

    My very imperfect recollection of the circumstances at the time leads me to believe that there was no such thing as “illegal” immigration then. And you can see the disastrous results of that oversight.

  25. I don’t have an figures on it, and I’m not sure any do or can exist with any validity since the number of “anchor babies” is too small draw a sample from. Yes, there are many million illegal immigrants here, but that’s a totally different argument than that about the “anchor babies”. To reinterpret (yes, reinterpret, I’ll get to that in a moment) the Constitution over a matter than effects what, maybe a few hundred people, is ridiculous.

    You sound like nobody in the 1860’s did or could conceive of the effect the amendment would have on immigrants. What about the Know Nothings and the anti-immigrant riots from the 1850’s through 60’s. The first big wave of immigrants was coming at this time, primarily from Ireland and the German countries. Just like now, they were seen as being different, unassimilable and having their own agendas. Still the amendment as we know it passed. How do you think all those Irish and Germans eventually assimilated? While it’s hardly an unimpeachable source, read some of the quote from Senators debating the amendment, it’s clear they were aware of what the language meant.

    I was saying under the same logic of preventing children of illegal immigrants from becoming citizens you could prevent children of felons from doing so as well, for example.

    Also, in this theoretical universe, what happens to the children of “anchor babies” if they’re born in the US?

  26. Can GM and Ford bring in a boat load of Chinese to help them out?

    Good idea. There’s a crippling shortage of auto workers willing to work for $1/day. But with the xenophobes firmly in charge, such a sensible approach is impossible.

  27. I would think that, in theory, children of illegals would themselves be illegals in the US as well, and that they would just have the same citizenship as their parents (provided they come from a nation where citizenship is passed from parent to child, which is the case of the vast majority).

    Can you provide some links to the quotes of the senators you mentioned? I’d be interested in reading some of that debate.

  28. Some James:

    Sorry on that last post, I was on auto pilot nad put your name into the Name category. That was actually me, damon.

    Also, if memory serves, the Irish/Italian flood wasn’t primarily illegal though, was it? I mean, they almost all came through NY’s Ellis Island, no?

  29. “In fact, we should send all the felons to mine uranium up on the moon. Lunar penal slave colonies are frak’n cool.”

    They did it on the moon of Io…

    U tube of Outland!

    IMDB for Outland

  30. Some James,

    Anyway, I’m never going to be very taken with the whole “anchor baby” controversy until I see some evidence that it’s a large enough problem to even be considered. This probably applies to such a minuscule number of immigrants that it’s laughable in both proportional or absolute terms.

    Michelle Malkin (stop cringing) wrote an article a couple of years ago theorizing that the “anchor baby” issue had much more to do with wealthy aliens than with any other group.

    Was something about the wealthy flying in pregnant family members on visas, giving birth and returning.

    On the meat packing plant, how did they “stage” the applicants for the news story? Do they have “rent a mob” for this?

  31. Good idea. There’s a crippling shortage of auto workers willing to work for $1/day. But with the xenophobes firmly in charge, such a sensible approach is impossible.

    Now that the Congress has made the xenophobes in charge of counting the votes of the workers who ‘want’ to be in their unions, I don’t see much chance of the $1/hr wage becoming common.

  32. Okay, first, while the Constitution clearly grants authority over naturalization law to the Congress, there was no federal immigration legislation until 1882(? or thereabouts), so they wouldn’t have thought about this much then.

    The debates around the fourteenth amendment aren’t clear about what everyone who voted for it meant by it. If one guy voted for it thinking that it would exclude the children of some aliens and the other votes for it thinking it doesn’t, whose interpretation trumps? The language of the amendment is clear in that all person subject to the jurisdiction of the US born in the US are citizens. If illegal aliens aren’t subject to the jurisdiction of the US even when in the US, does that mean that they have immunity from prosecution? Not subject to the jurisdiction thereof means kids of diplomats, some Indians (at least at the time of the amendment, probably not now), and, if the US were invaded, children born to foreign enemies behind enemy lines.

    Further, there is no anchor baby problem. The Immigration Nationality Act was amended, in I think 1996, to exclude the US citizen children of immigrants from bringing in their parents on visas until they are 21. If parents of a US citizen are deportable, they are deportable. Their kid doesn’t matter for this.

  33. You can’t mention “slavery” in America without dredging up the racial element…So, I wonder how many of these prisoners in Colorado (or Iowa or wherever else this program is being considered) happen to be black?

  34. Ah, that 1996ish thing is interesting. Did not know about that.

    So, back to the basics. This is just another set of laws that the government (all levels) enforces at their convenience.

    Colorado gets federal payments for prisoners identified as illegal aliens. They are complaining that the feds are behind on their payments.

    The only reason these folks are in Colorado jails is because Colorado LEOs have arrested them. They were not dumped there from other States.

    Colorado farmers are griping that the workers not yet arrested are fleeing the State because Colorado is rounding so many of their buddies up and they wish to refuse to pay any more than whatever they were paying during a glut of labor.

    Colorado offers to supply labor to private farms, from the labor pool that they have arrested and are owed federal payments for housing. The lend-back rate is reported to be pretty inexpensive, but I do not remember the exact amount.

    State owns the labor pool, gets payments from farmers, Colorado citizens and federal tax dollars for that labor pool.

    I have finally discovered a State even more greedy than New York.

  35. You can’t mention “slavery” in America without dredging up the racial element…So, I wonder how many of these prisoners in Colorado (or Iowa or wherever else this program is being considered) happen to be black?

    I mention it all of the time when Representative Rangel tosses up his annual draft bill.

  36. Every year, in San Jose, California, the city hosts “Christmas in the Park”. They have a Santa and fake snow and slighty creepy animated elves. Early every morning a bus pulls up to “Christmas in the Park” and unloads Santa’s little cleaning crew, dressed in festive yellow prison jumpsuits.

  37. In practical terms, denying American citizenship to kids born here to undocumented immigrants usually means those kids grow up as Americans, speak only English, attend American schools for 12 years, and end up getting deported to a country they know nothing about, where they know nobody and don’t understand thet language.

    It’s happened in my city, and it’s a revoltingly indecent piece of work.

  38. Give us slavery or give us agriculture subsidies.

    No, wait. Give us slavery and give us agriculture subsidies.

  39. “the fairy defense fource (sic)”

    Hr Dienstag:

    Go put some more Rogaine on your back hair, tool.

  40. Joe,

    Revolting as it may be, I’m purely concerned with original intent. Can we agree that what we personaly like or don’t like shouldn’t impact honest discussions on constitutional intent? What we do with the answer is our own business, of course.

    FinFangFoom,

    That’s interesting to know. I guess the question still remains: Even if it isn’t a problem, shouldn’t there be clarification? I’d still like to see stats on how many people this impacts, also.

  41. damon,

    Original intent was left in the dust by the “gun control” nonsense. I agree with you, but the rule makers disagree with us.

  42. Even if it isn’t a problem, shouldn’t there be clarification?

    Just who are you looking to for a clarification? Isn’t the Supreme Court enough?

    One can argue with a lot of Supreme Court decisions, but this one seems obvious. Readings of the 14th that exclude illegal residents are, frankly, deluded.

    That’s not to say that the law or Constitution can’t or shouldn’t be rewritten to change the status of persons born in US jurisdiction of illegal or nonpermanent residents. It simply says that, as the law is now, those persons are citizens.

  43. MikeP,

    Excellent points.

    Now, I am still looking for the bit in the Constitution that allows States to do this rent-a-slave business.

    Granted, I did not find where they could take property for private use either, but I am guessing it is in there someplace.

  44. HUMPERDINK!!!

    HUMERDINK HUMPERDINK HUMPERDINK

  45. So is it the pissed off convicts or the pissed off “undocumented” workers that keep compromising the cleanliness of our spinach and peanut butter and whatever is next?

    Our tax dollars, paying farmsubsidies to pay for labor supplied by prisoners supported by our tax dollars….does that need a NC-17 rating?

  46. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has suggested that California could get over its dependence on immigrant labor by having prisoners pick fruit. He made the suggestion before Colorado undertook their program.

  47. That’s why opposition to immigrants is consistently higher in places that have very few of them.

    Should read “that’s why opposition to illegal immigrants.”

    But it’s more fun to smear people you disagree with.

    In practical terms, denying American citizenship to kids born here to undocumented immigrants

    Oh come on. Just cut the PC crap and say “illegal” instead of “undocumented.”

  48. I’m going to recycle an old post:

    thoreau | May 17, 2006, 11:05pm | #
    Hey, I’ve got a great idea: If we’re going to crack down on illegals and arrest them, we shouldn’t just send them to some prison cell and let them live off the taxpayers. We should make them earn their keep: Have them do construction work, pick crops, wash dishes, and so forth.

    Oh, wait…

  49. Tancredo’s World

    Is Trancredo involved with this prison/slave labor program? I don’t see his name mentioned in the article.

    Perhaps some addiction to self-righteous indignation resulted in the headline.

  50. Should read “that’s why opposition to illegal immigrants.”

    I’ll concur that joe’s belief that governments actually have a large sphere of legitimate authority makes him less likely to label illegal immigrants illegal. Nonetheless, his statement is still true: Opposition to legal immigrants is consistently higher in places that have very few of them.

    I, on the other hand, believe in very limited powers of government and find the adjective ‘illegal’ in the context of plainly voluntary activities to be a badge of honor. I am very happy to use the word.

  51. Required reading for Reason’s open borders fanatics: Is Immigration a Problem?

  52. mamba, thanks for the link….amazing reading

  53. llegal alien labor is also a form of
    slave labor. Some are even paying back a debt to the “coyotes” that helped smuggle them in. Most of the
    farm workers-80%-are legally here.
    We just need to fill the last 20%.
    Tancredo mentioned on Sunday (CNN)
    that employers can get as many agra workers as they want- They just need to meet certain requirements like providing health insurance.Most will not and use illegals to get around this!

  54. Tom Tancredo: single-issue idiot.

    What’s especially sad is seeing paleo-libertarians and paleo-conservatives supporting this guy while not even bothering to pay attention to what his other views are. If Tancredo ever made it to the White House, he’d probably have both jailed as traitors and/or seditionists, but that doesn’t seem to matter to them just as long as he promises to keep the brown people out.

    Any comment, William R?

  55. I gave the nazi heil during the national anthem at a hockey game at Northeastern University the other day. People refuse to believe that this is actually happening, because the implications will make their head explode. I don’t know what to do. My opinion automatically doesn’t count, because the drugs I take aren’t politically correct.

    I am clinically politically insane. I have been thinking quite a bit about Jose Padilla lately. He is the only one of ANY of these to get a trial. I am pretty sure they are going to kill him like they killed Frank Olsen and JFK.

    De-fund the CIA.

  56. CHAPTER ONE

    Note: There are six long excerpts from DOMESTIC ENEMIES posted here. This novel does contain critical ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC “plot spoilers,” so consider reading that book before plunging into this sequel. Click on the “EXCERPTS” button at the bottom of this page to navigate to each of the six DOMESTIC ENEMIES excerpts.)

    “Yo, Penny! What the hell you doing, girl? Get your scrawny ass back here!”

    The woman was new; it was only her second day among the camp’s female detainees. She still had the boot camp buzz-cut which marked her as fresh from the “Tombs” in Illinois.

    The D-Camp admin staff usually did this with pale-skinned white girls: they put them straight out into the fields under the blast-furnace Oklahoma sun. The new prisoner had gamely attempted to keep up with the line of twenty women, weeding her row of knee-high corn with a hoe, but her hands were already cratered with broken blisters.

    She walked back down the narrow file to where Big Kendra was waiting. Ranya anticipated what was going to happen next.

    “Penny, are all the skinny white girls back in Maine as useless as you?”

    Ranya kept moving her hoe, while glancing over her shoulder at the drama playing out behind the field crew. The new woman was half the size of Big Kendra, with her broad butt and ample chest straining against her khaki uniform.

    “What is this here, woman? What do you see here?” Big Kendra carried a long rake handle when she was on guard duty in the fields; now she was using it to point at the ground between the rows of immature corn.

    The new detainee was shaking visibly, but Ranya couldn’t hear her reply. The woman turned and looked back up the line for the missed weed, leaning over to see where the guard had pointed. The guard moved up close behind, looming over her.

    “Are you blind too? That’s a big ole’ ragweed-ain’t that what you’re here for?”

    Ranya cringed as the guard booted the new woman down onto her face.

    “Now get back on the line, and don’t let me catch you slacking off again!”

    Big Kendra was one of the most offhandedly brutal guards in D-Camp. The six foot tall Philadelphian took special delight in humiliating the new detainees, especially soft suburban housewives from the opposite end of the pigmentation spectrum. After a few months of interrogation, they arrived at D-Camp in unmarked “moving vans” as pale as Pillsbury dough-boys, and were immediately sent out to do field work beneath the unrelenting sun. No hats were provided, and their faces and shorn heads burned an agonizing lobster red. No gloves were supplied, and without calluses, their hands became painfully blistered working the short-handled hoes.

    Ranya had seen the black Amazon called Big Kendra put the boot to many new detainees, as part of her own personal “breaking in” procedure.

    The new prisoner stumbled back, and took her place among the women working their way up the lines of dusty plants. She was on the next row from Ranya, sobbing quietly.

    “It’s not my fault, it’s a mistake, I shouldn’t even be here! It’s all a mistake! But nobody will listen. Nobody will listen!”

    This was the usual lament of the new Article 14 detainees. It was always a mistake. An old tune by an Australian band ran through Ranya’s mind. “It’s a mistake!” It was always the same heartrending song. “It’s a mistake!”

    This was the usual lament of the new Article 14 detainees. It was always a mistake. An old tune by an Australian band ran through Ranya’s mind. “It’s a mistake!” It was always the same heartrending song. “It’s a mistake!”

    “My husband disappeared last year, just disappeared! Went to work, and never came home. No word, not one word! Then last March the police came, and found guns in our attic. Assault weapons and sniper rifles, they said! I didn’t even know they were there! I swear to God, I had nothing to do with them! But nobody would listen! Now who’s taking care of my children? It’s all a mistake, but nobody will listen! And now I don’t even know where my children are?” Tears slid dirty tracks down her face.

    Children. The word stung Ranya. Who’s taking care of your children, lady? Well, who’s been taking care of my own baby for five long years? Her thoughts swept her back to the federal prison clinic in Maryland, her wrists and ankles shackled to the cold stainless steel table, and those precious minutes spent with her newborn baby boy. Even then her wrists were not unchained: a sympathetic nurse held the baby boy to her chest, allowed her to kiss him, to inhale his newborn breath? And that was all of her time with him. Her baby was taken by a grim prison matron, never to be seen again. At least this new prisoner had been able to share a life with her children. Not just a few minutes!

    Ranya wanted to say, “Do you think you’re the only mother here?” Instead she answered, “Look, it’s not a mistake, your being here. Let me guess: you’re here for an Article 14: ‘conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism’, right?”

    The new prisoner nodded, broken.

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