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Travel Ban Wakes Ghosts of Christmas Past

It’s no surprise Trump’s third travel ban attempt was upheld.  Americans know three’s a charm.  It’s not who’s coming
to America that we must worry over, it’s protecting those already here.  Sanctuary cities are faced with a new onslaught-immigration raids. The rise of America was and is dependent on immigrants. The ghosts of Christmas past can teach us a new lesson in immigration civility.

American Ghosts

Over 100 years ago Teddy Roosevelt, the newly established Labor Movement and thousands of immigrants were fighting for Labor Rights.  The Hay Market Riots were still cutting fresh wounds as the Union Stock Yards dug a new niche in the food industry. Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle, hit the shelves and influenced Congress to create safety guidelines for workers.  At the time, workers in Chicago and in cities across the nation were immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italy and Ireland.  Before Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods became ethnic Latino enclaves, they were Slavic territories with Pilsen named after a city in Croatia.  The point being, these “ForeLaborers” were immigrants and created the greatest safety nets for all workers by carrying the banner and burden to expand the melting pot. From the Red Scare to the invention of the iPhone, immigrants are the backbone of this country’s Labor Movement. Cities across America are majority Latino and immigrant.  These people pay taxes that fund our schools,
patronize our businesses and become our extended family.

Deporting More Than Workers

Mass deportation of our labor industry is a top priority for the Washington administration.  Yes, it’s a well-known fact that America’s labor industry, manufacturing, is engineered by immigrants, especially in low paying jobs. Recently, a Chicago bakery lost 800 employees in an immigration raid. That raid will cost the company approximately $21 million dollars during their most profitable time.  It’s an American company, paying American taxes. If the company shutters due to high legal and production costs, there’s one more American company that will off-shore.   This is
a typical scenario for US companies employing immigrants.

Taxpayers Pay, Pay, Pay

It’s not just a company that pays for deportation.  The average cost to deport one person from investigation to apprehension to detention and finally the actual deportation is over $11,000 per person.  The Trump
administration
is requesting $2.7 billion to increase border patrols and expand immigration.  If these laborers leave, who will take the jobs?  Are Americans willing to work for minimum wage? Pew research found the nations minimum wage workers are 77% percent Caucasian, nearly half are women and it disproportionately embodies teens and early
twentysomethings.  If it’s teens and twentysomethings how do they work at factories during educational hours?  Are grown people going to work these jobs that would normally go to immigrants when poor Americans don’t apply? There are many more questions when defining American workers than just throwing some back across borders.  The bakery mentioned earlier is discussing wage increases.  Even if it were to increase wages, how do young workers create shifts to attend school and work?  How much does retraining cost per new teen applicant?  Immigration is more than “citizenship” and “ethnicity”, it’s about an economy that has always been oiled by the arduous work of immigrants.

Travel bans won’t create new jobs that were depleted from off shoring.  Those companies and buildings are long gone and in disrepair.  The jobs Trump campaigned on saving have already begun mass moves to other nations. What do we do with the few jobs left? The Trump administration should focus on increasing wages and benefits,
re-mobilizing abandoned warehouses and manufacturing plants and training millions of American workers.  If he
really wants to stop foreign workers, he needs to focus on his American workers first. Besides, sending workers back to war torn countries depletes us of our moral standards America insisted upon in several United Nations documents.  Unfortunately, our government sings a new Christmas song, tis the season to be folly, la la la la la.  Quit worrying about them and take care of
us.

 

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