[Marxism] Industries Fret Over Bush's Border Plan
walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 28 05:15:36 MST 2005
Xenophobia, the fear of foreigners, is but one of the numerous
know-nothing mechanisms by which Washington's policies, and even
more so since September 11th, have served to furter isolate the
people of the United States from the international public. Before
9-11, the US public was one of the list-informed populations in
the world. Since then, with all of the other restrictions which
have been imposed on supposed "national security" grounds, the
ignorance of the realities of the world has only gone up with the
deliberate efforts of so many in the commercial media. Keeping out
the Cuban Grammy award nominees is among the LEAST of these steps.
The Bush administration's alliances with the most ultra-backward
forces, from the Cuban exile militant to the fetus-fetishists and
creationists and so on are coming into conflict now even with the
interests of the business community, as this report demonstrates.
Add this to the previous report about big business alienation from
the Bush administration and it seems that a prompt crisis for the
very functioning of government is even closer than it ever now.
Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
The Wall Street Journal
November 28, 2005
Industries Fret Over Bush's Border Plan
By MIRIAM JORDAN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 28, 2005; Page A4
At a visit today to one of the busiest crossing points for illegal
immigrants entering the U.S. from Mexico, President Bush is expected
to advocate a new emphasis on border security. But as he stakes out a
tougher stance, some industries that rely on low-skilled foreign
workers are expressing dismay that his immigration policy is veering
away from a comprehensive overhaul they regard as vital to ensuring a
stable labor force.
In Tucson, Ariz., Mr. Bush is to meet with border-security agents and
lay out his plan for halting illegal immigration. In his speech, he
will emphasize the need for stricter enforcement, including greater
use of technology such as unmanned aircraft as well as overhaul of
laws that now clog the courts with immigration appeals, and
tightening of rules that sometimes require the release of illegal
immigrants whose home countries won't take them back. At the same
time, Mr. Bush will call for a new temporary-worker program that
stops short of blanket amnesty for current illegal immigrants, a
senior administration official said.
Mr. Bush's recent moves have been interpreted as an attempt to
assuage conservative Republicans urging him to get tougher on the
border. Officials in some industries are concerned that the President
is retreating from his 2004 initiative that would include legalizing
many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants working in the U.S.
Critics of Mr. Bush's guest-worker program believe it amounts to
amnesty and that it won't stanch the flow of illegal immigrants.
Before any guest-worker program goes into effect, they say, the
country's borders must be sealed. Conservative Republican party
leaders, led by Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, are winning support
from voters that decry the cost of providing state and local services
to illegal immigrants.
In early December, the House of Representatives is expected to vote
on a bill to make beefing up the border and cracking down on illegal
immigrants a precursor to comprehensive reform. Several bills could
come before the Senate early next year, when the body's leadership
plans to open a debate on immigration.
Mr. Bush's apparent shift has troubled officials in industries that
say worker shortages have recently become worse for a variety of
reasons. Some companies find themselves having to let go of workers
when, months or even years after hiring an individual, they learn
that the person is illegally in the country. The U.S. has stepped up
both deportation proceedings and border control, making it harder for
new workers to enter the country.
Consequently, worker shortages have developed in industries that have
had trouble getting U.S. citizens to take jobs. In agriculture, for
example, grape pickers were in short supply for the recent harvest,
and farmers lost crops. The meatpacking and meat-processing
industries are facing similar problems, as are landscaping, nursing
homes, construction and other industries that depend on low-skilled
workers, who are often in the U.S. illegally.
"We need to have access to workers to keep manufacturing in the
U.S.," said Elizabeth Dickson, adviser on global immigration services
to Ingersoll-Rand Co., a conglomerate that makes products such as
door locks, golf carts, road machinery and refrigeration equipment.
While the company tries to establish the legitimacy of its work
force, it realizes some workers -- particularly in unskilled or
semiskilled trades -- probably are undocumented, she said.
The company has had to terminate several experienced workers after
receiving notification from authorities that their documentation,
such as Social Security numbers, wasn't legitimate, she said. "We are
a business trying to do everything right," Ms. Dickson said. "We need
a mechanism to legally employ [semiskilled] workers."
Janet Riley, senior vice president for public affairs at the American
Meat Institute, which represents 250 meatpackers and processors, said
the industry faces a "shallow" labor pool that couldn't survive
"We need a solution that will address and provide a legal work
force," said Barbara Alvarez, president California Landscape
Contractors Association, which represents 2,500 companies that are
facing a severe labor shortage. Recently, she said, she has had to
fire several experienced workers at her company on learning they
didn't carry authentic documents. "I can't find native workers to
replace them," she said.
Brinker International Inc., the restaurant company that owns Chili's,
Maggiano's Little Italy and Romano's Macaroni Grill, reports that
29,000 of its 100,000 employees are Latinos, many of them immigrants.
"From a restaurant-industry perspective, immigration policy should
work to connect willing employers with willing employees," said Joe
Taylor, vice president of corporate affairs.
In July testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the president of
the American Health Care Association said "America's health care
system...is straining due to a shortage of key caregivers necessary
to care for a rapidly aging population." Hal Daub, the AHCA official,
said 52,000 certified nursing assistants were needed immediately to
meet existing demand for care. "Our current immigration system cannot
handle our continuing need for foreign-born workers," he said,
calling for a path to permanent status and eventual U.S. citizenship
for undocumented workers in his industry.
About half of the 1.8 million farm workers in the U.S. are illegal
Farmers in California's Central Valley, the richest agricultural
region in the U.S., had to extend the latest harvest season for
grapes, peaches, plums and other fruit because of a worker shortage.
As a result, there was decay and a drop in quality. "Some farmers
lost half their crop," said Pat Ricchiuti Jr., president of the
Fresno County Farm Bureau. "We need these [immigrants] as much as
they need us," said Mr. Ricchiuti, who owns P-R Farms Inc., a
diversified farming company.
--John D. McKinnon contributed to this article.
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