The Fulford File, By James Fulford | Labor Day In Mississippi—Job Openings For Americans After Raids
Print Friendly and PDF

The recent raid in Mississippi highlighted how American labor—American working men and women, not the leaders of Big Labor—feels about immigrant labor taking their jobs.

I noted that in the Howard Industries plant the American workers cheered and clapped as the illegals were arrested.

"One worker caught in Monday's sweep at the plant said fellow workers applauded as immigrants were taken into custody. Federal officials said a tip from a union member prompted them to start investigating several years ago.

Fabiola Pena, 21, cradled her 2-year-old daughter as she described a chaotic scene at the plant as the raid began, followed by clapping."[ Fear grips [illegal] immigrants after Miss. plant raid By Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press, August 27, 2008]

Notice that it was a member, presumably an American, from the local union who tipped them off. Please notice that they received this tip several years ago. Why wasn't it acted on then? Well, we've had a Bush administration for eight years, and the Bush administration was not interested in immigration enforcement until after its amnesty plan failed. In 2004, Ed Rubenstein wrote Quietly, Employer Sanctions Have Been Abandoned, while in 2005 Steve Sailer noted a Washington Post report that

"Richard Stana, director of homeland security and justice at the Government Accountability Office, told a House of Representatives subcommittee this week the number of notices of intent to fine employers for knowingly hiring unauthorized workers fell from 417 in 1999 to three last year."[See IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT Weaknesses Hinder Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement Efforts GAO-05-813 PDF for more details.]

That's why a Heather Mac Donald wrote about the Bush Administration's amnesty enthusiasm that

"[I]mmigration enforcement has not failed—it has never been tried." [ W's Immigration Fallacy, New York Post, January 16, 2004]

And why a Mississippi newspaper recently editorialized that

"The most effective reforms would be to enforce existing laws."

The result of this immigration enforcement may be that Howard Industries,[Email] (whose owners are maxed out McCain donors) may be forced to hire Americans. (Mississippi has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.)A local Mississippi paper reports

Residents lined up for jobs at Howard Industries

Hattiesburg[Mississippi] American, August 26, 2008

LAUREL—About 30 cars were lined up in front of Howard Industries' Laurel plant today filled with people looking for jobs.

An estimated 350 workers are being held at an undisclosed location following an early morning raid Monday on Howard Industries that officials say is the largest round-up of its type in Mississippi in recent years.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the 350 employees at a Howard Industries plant in Laurel are in the country illegally.

Federal warrants were issued at the plant early Monday and also at the corporate headquarters in Ellisville.

Shantay Holles, 26, of Heidelberg said she used to work at Howard Industries as an electric tester but was fired last year. She said she is applying today because she heard on the news about the ICE raid.

"That's all they would hire—Mexican, Mexican, Mexican!" Holles said.

Samantha Stevens, 18, a 2008 graduate of Heidelberg High School, said she couldn't find a job and she is glad the ICE stepped in.

"We were here first. It's not fair for them to have a job," Stevens said.

Miss Stevens statement about being "here first" is more poignant when you know that she's a graduate of a high school which is 100% African-American, and therefore she can claim that her ancestors were brought to America in chains to work for no pay. Now that they're free, Howard Industries is trying to replace them with illegals from Brazil, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Peru, according to ICE.

That's why many American minority leaders have opposed mass immigration—the Law of Supply and Demand will drive the wages of minorities down first, affecting the majority later. (See my last year's column Labor Day Lament: Where Have You Gone, Samuel Gompers, Dennis Kearney, Cesar Chavez, A. Philip Randolph?) But it does affect the majority, too. There's no reason why whites or blacks in Mississippi should be replaced by illegal immigrants. And the Los Angeles Times, in a more detailed interview with Fabiola Pena, reports that it was the black co-workers who clapped and cheered:

"But helicopters were not what shocked Pena the most on her last, fateful day at Howard Industries, the largest employer in this small Southern town. It was the black co-workers who clapped and cheered, Pena said, as she and hundreds of other Latino immigrant laborers were arrested and hauled away.
'They said we took their jobs, but I was working from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.,' said Pena, 21, a day after the raid last week that resulted in the arrest of nearly 600 suspected illegal immigrants. 'I didn't see them working like us.'"[Immigrant raid divides a Mississippi town, By Miguel Bustillo and Richard Fausset, August 31, 2008]

The reason that black American workers can clap and cheer as illegals are hauled away, and a probably black worker can be quoted as saying of Howard Industries that "That's all they would hire—Mexican, Mexican, Mexican!" is that black workers aren't afraid of being called racist. Maybe it's time the rest of American workers adopted a similar attitude.

Previous Labor Day Columns

September 2, 2001 - Happy (Fairly Priced) Labor Day!

August 30, 2002 - View from Lodi, CA: A Labor Day Lament

August 31, 2003 - Unhappy Labor (Investor Taxpayer) Day?

September 3, 2003 WSJ Edit Page's Labor Day Revisionism

September 3, 2004 - UnConventional Opinions for Labor Day

September 5, 2004 - Thinking About Jobs On Labor Day

September 2, 2005 - View From Lodi, CA: Labor Day—As the Rich Get Richer….

September 3, 2006 - Labor Day In Cardinal Mahony's Alta California

September 4, 2005 - Labor Day vs. Day Labor

September 4, 2006 Labor Day through the Looking Glass

August 31, 2007 - For Labor Day, Good News From The Lodi, CA. Vineyards— Plenty of Workers (and Machines) For This Year's Grape Harvest

August 31, 2007 Happy Labor Day Teamsters–Here Come Mexican Truckers!

September 1, 2007 Happy Labor Day-AFL-CIO fights to lower US wages!

September 2, 2007 The Fulford File Labor Day Lament: Where Have You Gone, Samuel Gompers, Dennis Kearney, Cesar Chavez, A. Philip Randolph?


Print Friendly and PDF