Giving Away American Jobs
Local TV Exposes Employment Corruption
Let's give some credit where it is due. For too long, it seems that the mainstream news media have been even bigger cheerleaders for unbridled immigration than they have been for our assorted wars. How refreshing it is, then, to see at least one news outlet, WFOR, in South Florida, finally begin to serve the interests of the American people!
With the crash in the economy, the U.S. jobless rate is climbing monthly. No sector has been harder hit than construction. New building projects are rare all over the country. Yet, in Bal Harbour, Florida, the company installing the duct work in a big new hotel project, in order to take advantage of a special temporary visa program permitting them to use foreign workers, claimed that no American sheet-metal workers were available. And they got away with it, receiving the blessings of local and national labor and immigration officials. You can see the 3-part video report by Jim DeFede of WFOR (which calls itself CBS4) here, here, and here.
The transcripts of the programs are here, here and here.
So how long are we going to have to wait for the big shots at CBS News on the national level to tell us about the scandal of government collusion with abusive employers, who deprive American workers of good jobs while turning them into bad jobs for desperate foreigners? ABC? NBC? The Washington Post? The New York Times? Don't hold your breath.
With their resources, duly diminished though they may be, the major networks could delve even more deeply into the national scandals of the H-2B program and its counterpart for agricultural workers, H-2A. Their investigation might begin by asking what will happen when those Mexican sheet metal workers have finished the project for which they were brought into the country. What they would discover is that, although they are supposed to go back home, nobody really knows what happens to them. There is a very good chance that most of them will simply join the swelling ranks of our undocumented aliens.
In reality, these two visa programs are little more than massive, legal people-smuggling programs that, with the blessings of federal and state governments, are lining the pockets of unscrupulous employers in the United States and the pockets of criminals, primarily in Mexico. How it works is really quite simple. Labor recruiters in Mexico are besieged by poor Mexicans, eager to come to the United States. Since the recruiters' services are so much in demand, they can charge their customers, the potential visa recipients, quite handsomely. The workers seldom have sufficient cash, so they promise to pay out of the wages they will earn up north. Once they are in the U.S., even if their intention was to follow the terms of the visa, they find that they will not have earned enough to pay up completely. In the case of the very low-paid workers in H-2A, they might not even complete the project for which the visa was granted, skipping out into more lucrative employment elsewhere in the U.S. economy. We have all heard about the incredible brutality of Mexican gangsters, so one can well imagine the pressure to pay up upon migrant workers with family and loved ones left behind in Mexico.
For more about the ugliness of this massively corrupt system that you're not likely to see on the major networks, see Silence in the Fields, from the January/February 2001 issue of Mother Jones.
David Martin, February 26, 2009