Sunday, May 3, 2009
A Smarter Version of a Bad Idea
The recent changes in enforcement by Homeland Security to go more aggressively after the employers of undocumented workers won faint approval from the New York Times. It's better than the "cruel idiocy" of raids that only rounded up the workers and led to the separation of parents from children -- often U. S. citizens. It made for good theater, but bad public policy. Rounding up 6,000 workers out of a 12 million population made for good headlines to assuage nervous voters. It also had the effect of greater creating fear among the 12 million and driving them deeper into the shadows and arms of exploitative employers. The new guidelines, however, are only "a smarter version of a bad idea." For one thing, the raids will not stop and so it will make employers nervous about federal scrutiny so that may "purge" their workforces of those with dubious documentation. Unscrupulous bosses will go the "Home Depot" way -- hiring in parking lots or at street corners, with cash and no questions asked. That would be inviting greater exploitation. The Times argues that only a comprehensive reform that affords legalization, family reunification and protections of workers from workplace abuse can only resolve the issue.