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New Orleans: AP covers the worker abuse it helped bring about

From Rukmini Callimachi of the AP:
They are the backbone of post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction: Workers who converge at dawn and wait to be picked up for 14-hour shifts of hauling debris, ripping out drywall and nailing walls.

But because many are in the country illegally, immigrant workers rebuilding New Orleans are especially vulnerable to exploitation, according to a study released Tuesday by professors at Tulane University and the University of California at Berkeley.

The illegal immigrants often work in hazardous conditions without protective gear and earn far less than their legal counterparts, the study said. Nearly one-third of the illegal immigrants interviewed by researchers reported working with harmful substances and in dangerous conditions, while 19 percent said they were not given any protective equipment...

"What is fundamentally unfair is these are workers who have responded to a national priority to rebuild this city and yet whose rights are being violated," said Laurel Fletcher, director of Berkeley's International Human Rights Law Clinic and one of the study's co-authors...
Actually what is even more fundamentally unfair is that those workers are there in the first place. If they weren't there, American citizens and legal immigrants would be doing the work, and any abuses would be much easier to deal with.

Those workers were brought there by powerful forces who probably weren't working together, but definitely were working towards the same ends. The Bush administration moved many of the previous inhabitants into hotels in Atlanta and Houston, basically warehousing them on the public dole. Then, they allowed corrupt contractors to bring in an illegal alien workforce. Those contractors got juicy - and in many cases no-bid - contracts and were able to pay a lower price for the illegal labor with the associated lower safety standards.

Where was the Democratic Party in all this? Cheerleading it along. Harry Reid helped Bush with his scheme. And, when Nagin, Landrieu, and Blanco complained about illegal alien workers being brought in, they were silenced by higher-ups in the party.

What about the media? They formed a separate cheerleading squad of their own. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the AP, and various smaller papers and racial demagogues all supported illegal aliens being brought in to New Orleans.

And, all those who supported this before are now partly responsible for the worker abuse described in the article.

Let's send an email to Laurel Fletcher suggesting she might want to attempt to consider mentioned who's responsible for this situation next time: lef *at* law.berkeley.edu

Immigration · Thu, 06/08/2006 - 09:16 · Importance: 1

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 13:44
Fred Dawes

pat its only the start, what the rats really want is for us all to be Guess Workers, its our future world and that future will not be real happy! 100 years from now maybe some will still be able to think! will not have kind words to say. but also understand what you see now is the tools of evil working on all people to kill this nation, from the top of the system to the end game that is being played out in front of us all.

Thu, 06/08/2006 - 12:29
Pat

So, they enable the exploitation, then pretend to be surprised when it actually happens. I guess they think we owe a free ride to every human being on the planet?!