I predictably didn't see many Latinos amid the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina. After all, New Orleans has never had a large Hispanic population. Not only might this soon change, Katrina's aftermath might also become an immigration issue.How very similar to something Linda Chavez recently said in her racial-cheerleading column.
To stimulate relief efforts, President Bush suspended portions of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that construction workers on federal projects be paid the prevailing local wage. Then the Department of Homeland Security said it would not penalize employers who hired illegal workers. While the idea behind these actions is to lower costs, cut red tape and accelerate rebuilding, the reality is that contractors will have free rein to hire undocumented workers.Upon reading the last sentence, I (foolishly) briefly thought he might end up supporting rebuilding jobs going to our own citizens. As we shall see, I was quite gullible to consider that even for a millisecond. And, compare his backstory with that in the S.F. Chronicle's "As locals struggle, migrants find work in New Orleans" (link):
Recognizing the demand for migrant labor, and to help speed reconstruction in the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security temporarily suspended rules mandating employers to prove that workers they hire are citizens or have a legal right to work in the United States. In addition, President Bush suspended application in the Katrina-affected region of the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, under which employers must pay prevailing wage rates on federally financed construction projects -- in order, Bush said, to "permit the employment of thousands of additional individuals."Returning to USA Today:
The construction industry already relies on Latino immigrant labor...In fact, President Fox pointed this out a few weeks ago:
"If there is anything Mexicans are good at, it is construction."Switching from President Fox back to the USA Today editorialist:
The USA has always relied on immigrant workers. Irish laborers built the Erie Canal. Chinese ones laid the transcontinental railway.How odd! That's just about the same thing the Los Angeles Times' Gregory Rodriquez said in his essay "La Nueva Orleans". Imagine - two pundits using the Chinese Coolie system as a paradigm within days of each other. Seriously now: what are the chances of that?
...it is time for Congress and the president to move toward meaningful reform.Isn't it odd how all these people come to the same conclusions and even use the same examples? Why, it's almost like there's some racial mothership feeding them lines.
Otherwise, just as Katrina exposed a black-white economic divide, the reconstruction effort might ultimately highlight another disaster: our broken immigration system.
Mon, 10/17/2005 - 00:48 · Importance: 4