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Only In America
by John David Powell
1 October 2003Union Logo

Have you heard about the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride? You won't believe this one.


The Racine Journal Times on September 27 told the story of a married man and woman fired from their factory jobs after their employer discovered they and many co-workers were illegal immigrants who used fake Social Security numbers to gain employment. The couple joined the Milwaukee-based Voces de la Frontera Workers Center in a rally at the Racine City Hall to demand legal status for illegal workers in the United States.

The rally was in solidarity with a national road show known as the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride originating in eighty cities in thirty states. The self-proclaimed Freedom Riders will arrive by bus in Washington, D.C. for a rally on October 1 & 2, then head off for another rally Oct. 3 & 4 in New York City.

Only in America could hundreds of criminals and fellow travelers cross state lines and federal checkpoints without fear of arrest, imprisonment, torture, deportation, or death, and then have the freedom to bad mouth a nation that doesn't understand why its laws should not apply to foreign criminals.

The U.S. has as many as eighteen million foreign-born workers, which is about 12.5% of the workforce. The Urban Institute estimates nine million illegals work here, but that's just a guess, because illegals don't wear nametags proclaiming their criminal status.

In the spirit of full disclosure, let me add here that one of my grandfathers was an illegal immigrant from Canada; he arrived in Canada illegally from Hong Kong; he came ashore there illegally from China. That was about eighty years ago, back when people who snuck into this country didn't whine about their lot because they knew living here under any condition was better than what they left behind. My father died owning a restaurant in Chicago where he also was a top member of one of the Chinese "societies."

This Freedom Ride is a slick public relations gimmick designed to invoke the memories of the original freedom riders of the 1960s civil rights movement. Whereas the 1960s riders found their inspiration in the self-evident truth that all men and women are created equal, today's riders are nothing more than dupes for the less altruistic goal of increasing union membership.

How in the world does one arrive at such a conclusion? Simple. This is a campaign initiated by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union.

Only in America could groups formed to protect the rights of working Americans turn their backs on those workers in favor of job squatting criminals. Twenty years ago, organized labor loved anti-immigration legislation because it protected the jobs of U.S. working men and women. Reality set in when labor leaders realized immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, got the jobs anyway. They looked around and saw an untapped, naive, and large huddled mass of potential dues-paying members.

Unions are not the only special interest groups to see the monetary value of illegals. A recent study by the UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center found when immigrants from Central and South America make up at least fifteen percent of an occupation, they substantially lower wages for other minorities.

Black leaders don't like labor competition from Asian and Latin American immigrants, but they know fingering them as the cause of the economic plight of many African Americans has no political legs. Instead, they embrace illegal immigrants so all may achieve the top civil rights agenda item: making Yankee dollars.

Denise Dixon, the black leader of the Chicago chapter of the low-income community group ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, said she is a Freedom Rider because wages will be kept down for everyone as long as working people allow the harassment and intimidation of immigrants. "I don't know about you, but I want to make some money," she said.

This Freedom Rider thing is part of a growing movement that wants to set aside traditional notions of national citizenship by claiming universal human and workplace rights. In the U.S., illegal aliens want the same rights of native and naturalized citizens, which include access to free health care, access to public education, the right to affirmative action and equal employment opportunities, the right to operate motor vehicles, and the right to vote.

If workplace protection is what they want, then granting legal status to immigration criminals makes as much sense as legalizing prostitution to eliminate the illegal sex trade. You will know the government is serious about illegal immigration when it imposes on every business and person who hires these so-called undocumented workers a mandatory, no-appeal, one million dollar fine per illegal.

Money talks. Bullcrap takes the bus.

John David Powell is an award-winning writer and Internet columnist, professional speechwriter, and contributor to the Christian Millennium History
Project. His website is www.johndavidpowell.net.

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