Munro: Media Prop Up Corruption, Illegal Labor Exploitation — Because Children Are Crying


President Donald Trump’s deputies have torn up Mississippi politics by enforcing long-ignored immigration laws on the state’s powerful meatpacking industry — yet the media shows the turnabout only as a traumatic event for migrant children.

“Videos and images of weeping children and loved ones spread as ICE arrests 680 in Mississippi,” said

The Associated Press ignored the money and followed the children, with a headline saying “Immigrants lock doors, rally around children of detained.”

The media’s child-focused coverage of Trump’s crackdown on corrupt businesses shows how, “the left gives industry a free pass on its exploitation of illegal immigrants,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He continued:

The old left was concerned about class issues, about improving the loft of less-skilled, less-powerful workers …  The new left is now longer focused on raising up poor workers in the United States, but it focussed on a racial and ethnic transformation of the nation, and it seeks to maximize the number of people who move here from abroad … That is the overriding goal of the antiborders left — more is always better, no matter how it happens, whether it is guest workers or illegal migration, no matter how they are exploited.

The hardest-hit group of Americans are local blacks who have been excluded from jobs because the recruiters prefer compliant Latin-American migrants, Krikorian said. “These anti-border groups on the left are conspiring with employers to elbow out black Americans from these jobs …  disproportionally, the people who are not in the labor market in Mississippi are black.”

From 2000 to 2009, the labor-force participation rate in Mississippi dropped by 9 percent, according to an August 8 report from Krikorian’s CIS. The drop from 78 percent to 69 percent leaves 494,000 U.S.-born adults out of the workforce in 2019, said the report, titled “The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the First Quarter of 2019.”

The day after the raid, Koch posted job advertisements for “processing line worker,” which said:

Koch Foods is recruiting 1st Shift Processing Line Workers for its processing plant located in Morton, MS.

We offer competitive wages and a benefits package that helps safeguard your health and well-being, and provides savings options for you and your family to those who are benefits eligible.

The processing firms have been under pressure to raise wages in Trump’s go-go economy. In May 2019, for example, Sanderson Farms offered $15 an hour wage to workers after June 2. “Sanderson Farms has about 15,000 workers in Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas. About 13,000 [earn] hourly wages,” AP reported.

In prior enforcements of immigration laws, the large-scale removal of migrant workers has forced companies to pay higher wages to African-American bakers in Chicago and Somali refugees in Iowa.

But companies often use the large loopholes cut by Congress in the nation’s immigration laws. For example, many companies use subcontractors to hire staff, so delegating legal risks to the subcontractor managers who supply them with Central Americans who cannot speak English or much Spanish.

Federal data shows that half of the meat cutters in the processing plans earn less than $12.23 an hour in May 2018.

Meatpacking wages remain far below wages paid in the early 1980s when the meatpacking companies broke the unions. That win was achieved partly by moving operations into the midwest and south, far from the major cities where their union workforces and health hazards — plus the newspaper “muckrakers” — had helped precipitate a national political shift in the early 1900s.

In 2019, however, the wage pressure at the chicken plants has been reduced by the Central American migration which has brought at least 200,000 adult migrants into the U.S. economy since October 2018.

Many of the migrants brought children to trigger the catch-and-release rules which allow them to pay their smuggling debts with U.S. jobs. These migrants are given work permits until their asylum hearings are held, they can compete for housing with locals, and their children are allowed to crowd into classrooms with the children of blue-collar Americans, even if they do not speak English.

There is some evidence that some Central American migrants were hired by the Mississippi chicken companies in place of local Americans. “A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father,” said an August 7 AP report from Morton, Miss.

The Mississippi chicken companies have been able to hire illegal workforces for many years, partly because they have played a huge role in state politics. This author reported in 2014:

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is relying on the state’s biggest chicken salesman to help him win his fierce winner-take-all primary battle with State Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Joe Sanderson, the primary owner of the nation’s tied-for-third-largest chicken processor, is Cochran’s fundraising chairman, and he’s using his state-wide clout to win funds for Cochran’s campaign.

Cochran and Sanderson worked closely with former state governor Haley Barbour during the 2014 campaign, as Barbour also worked as a pro-migration lobbyist for the chicken industry. “You go into a chicken-processing plant anywhere in Mississippi, and if you can find somebody on the floor who speaks English, I’ll give you $100,” he laughed in 2014.

The cozy arrangement was broken early August 7.

“To those who use illegal aliens for a competitive advantage or to make a quick buck,” said Mike Hurst, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, “If we find you have violated federal criminal law, we are coming for you.”

But as populist Trump’s deputies raided Mississippi’s chicken companies, the elites in business, Hollywood, progressives, and media immediately focused their energy and emotion on the migrants’ children.

The migrants’ children were quickly touted in tweets from Mark Zuckerberg’s cheap-labor lobbyist in D.C., Todd Schulte:

This appears to be the largest workplace raid in a very, very long time. I hope you read about these children tonight. As a nation, these children should have parents on a pathway to citizenship, not this …

…We must stop debating who should or should they deported. Mississippians of all background deserves a country that offers a pathway to citizenship for these people, not where to instill fear in 10s of millions of Americans we saw nearly 700 people arrested.

Tomorrow we’ll do our best to share information on how people can support those on the frontlines helping to response to massive raids in MS, including supporting children left behind. Tomorrow is another chance to stand up and fight for what this country needs to become.

Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted: “Children of those who were arrested in the #ICEraids are left alone in the streets crying for help. Don’t look away.”

Hollywood comedian Sara Silverman joined the chorus with a tweet aimed at the law-enforcement: “What fucking heroes. Making our streets safe from… factory workers? Parents? Families? Smh”

New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted the video of the children, saying “I’m sick to my stomach.”

The Washington Post followed Shulte’s model, with an early-morning August 8 headline “ICE arrested hundreds of people in raids. Now ‘devastated’ children are without their parents,” and lede:

Elizabeth Iraheta was passing the Koch Foods processing plant in Morton, Miss., on Wednesday when she saw immigration officials swarming outside and a helicopter overhead. Big silver buses lined the driveway and agents blocked the entrance gates.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were sweeping through the workplace and rounding up all undocumented immigrants. By the day’s end, nearly 700 people would be arrested.

Angie’s mother was one of them.

Friends of Angie’s mother brought the 12-year-old girl to the food-processing plant to say goodbye before agents loaded her onto a bus with dozens of other immigrants. Angie is teary-eyed in a video of an encounter with an ICE agent but also seems confused about what was going to happen next.

Many outlets posted the same video of a crying girl:

Amid the media alarm, enforcement officials had already implemented measures to keep children safe. For example, the single parents of children — include the migrant girl in the white-and-pink shirt– were being released even as the media upped its emotional coverage.

CBS reported the day after the operation:

Officials on Thursday said that all those detained on Wednesday were asked if they had any children at school or childcare. They said ICE agents released single parents with minor children, as well as one of two parents of minor children if they apprehended couples. Agents allowed migrants to make calls to ensure their children were being taken care of and worked with school districts during the operation.

During a call with reporters Thursday afternoon, ICE officials said they encountered 18 minors working at the sites, the youngest being 14.

Those safe-child policies were made clear on the day of the operation when a law-enforcement officer was filmed telling one relative:

“Here’s the deal, all right,” an agent says to an English-speaking woman accompanying Angie. “She just went. Her mom got on the bus. We took her mom’s documents, all right. She’s going to be processed, because she doesn’t have papers to be here legally.”

But “because she’s the only caretaker of the child,” the agent continues, “she’ll be released this afternoon. So with [Angie] being a U.S. citizen and being 12 years old … she’s going to be issued a notice to appear, she’ll have to see an immigration judge, she’ll be released this afternoon.”

Immigration Numbers:

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university. This total includes roughly 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software or statistics.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — plus around 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it transfers wages to investors and ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.

The cheap-labor economic strategy also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the heartland to the coastal citiesexplodes rents and housing costsshrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.



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