It's hard to get very far in a debate over immigration reform without prompting the claim "but they broke the law"—the implication being that, hey, it's not the Mexicanness we object to, it's the violation of our infallible, divinely inspired, uniformly just immigration law. I can't take this argument seriously, but I'm wondering how the aversion to criminality squares with the continued switchover to labor from actual criminals:
Colorado started sending female inmates to harvest onions, corn, and melons this summer. Iowa is considering a similar program. In Arizona, inmates have been working for private agriculture businesses for almost 20 years. But with legislation signed this summer that would fine employers for knowingly hiring undocumented workers, more farmers are turning to the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) for help.
Although the ADC is considering innovative solutions – including satellite prisons – to fulfill companies' requests for inmate labor, prison officials agree that, in the end, the demand is too high.
I haven't heard James Sensenbrenner complain that we're condoning drug use by letting offenders harvest onions all day long. If immigrants agree to live in jail cells, can they continue to work?