Crider officials are scrambling to find workers. Over the last decade, the company gradually replaced African-American employees with Hispanics. Now the company has again turned to blacks and anyone else it can find, including about 40 felons from a detention center and 30 homeless men from a mission, to keep running...Why would anyone support such living and working conditions? Yet, that's exactly what those who've taken Crider's side in this matter are doing: Russ Bynum of the AP, Reason Magazine, Patrik Jonsson of the CSM, and the SPLC are all implicitly supporting those "filthy" barracks.
[An unemployed welder from Douglas 100 miles away describes how a recruiter hired him to work at the plant:] "He said they had rooms for us and I was thinking at least a Holiday Inn. But when I got here, it was a different story."
The man who hired him was a private contractor, and the free room turned out to be in barracks owned by Crider. Inside the filthy two-bedroom units, men and women sleep on mattresses on the floor and toilets overflow. Crider officials said they plan to shut the barracks.
The barracks used to be filled with illegal immigrants. Now the tenants are all African-Americans. "When we pulled in here, I felt like I would be used and discriminated against," Stanford said. "I felt degraded. I've never lived like this and I can't wait to get out."
...Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of five Hispanic U.S. citizens who said they were harassed during the raid. The suit seeks monetary damages and a court order preventing future raids in the U.S.
...Another plaintiff, David Robinson, 48, earned $115,000 a year renting trailers to Crider's immigrant workers. Since the raid, his income has been cut in half. Robinson, who is white, was so enraged by the raid that he flew an American flag upside down on his property for a week.
In his view, he has done nothing wrong.
"I suspected they were illegal, but there is no way to know for sure," said Robinson. "When they go to Wal-Mart, nobody tries to find out if they are legal before they sell to them. I'm just providing a service."
Immigration · Tue, 12/12/2006 - 04:29 · Importance: 4