Simply Un-pallet-able.

pallet.jpg
“Our 2006 model features the latest in pallet technology advancements. Our highly-skilled yet criminally underpaid labor force, which we imported specifically from Latin America, allows us to pass the savings along to our investors.”

The Tribune reports that a nationwide “crackdown” on illegal immigrants is underway:

“Immigration crackdown includes Chicago”
“Immigration authorities arrested Chicago employees of a manufacturer of crates and pallets as part of a nationwide crackdown on the hiring of illegal immigrants, officials said Wednesday.”

See, those damn Mexicans are taking jobs away from hard-working Americans that spent 4 years in higher education and tens of thousands of dollars learning the highly skilled trade of pallet manufacturing, otherwise known as “nailing boards together.”

The Trib goes on to mention:

“One official, speaking on condition of anonymity because numbers were still being tallied, said the arrests at IFCO Systems were in the hundreds nationwide. Authorities in Buffalo said seven managers conspired to bring illegal immigrants into the country.”

So lemme get this straight: because we in America respect the “rule of law,” we feel compelled to round up illegal immigrants, yet, the seven company managers that conspired to bring illegal immigrants into the country were apparently not arrested. This is yet another example of why when people intone about the “rule of law” in regards to an issue of this sort, many simply feel it is coded racism, much in the same manner as “law and order” has in the past been political code for “keeping the blacks in line.”

Speaking of those seven managers that conspired to break Federal law…that must be a felony, right? As far as I know, being in the country illegally is still a misdemeanor- that’s why there’s so much hoo-hah over the Sensenbrenner legislation- because it seeks to make illegal immigration a felony.

So, to recap:
Misdemeanor conduct = raids and arrests by Federal immigration police.
Felony conduct = nada. (That’s Spanish for “nothing, zilch, zero” for those of you playing along at home).

But that’s not all:

“Labor organizers in Chicago accused federal authorities of timing the raids to intimidate immigrants who have recently joined massive marches in Chicago and other U.S. cities to support illegal immigrants.”

Naw, our government wouldn’t do a thing like that, would they?

16 Comments so far

  1. The Sicilian (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

    Nikkos, you know we disagree on the concept of illegal immigrants having a right to full U.S. citizenship for merely squatting on U.S. soil. I get your point about the innuendo of political intimidation. One point out of all this I certainly agree with you on is the paradox of employers not being held accountable to the law. I honestly don’t know if the one instance you cited is representative of illegal immigration enforcement not being applied to employers elsewhere, but I’d be surprised if this is not the case. A huge portion of the illegal immigration problem could obviously be solved by making employers of illegal aliens truly accountable to the rule of law and face criminal charges. Of course, one of the mitigating factors is said to be 9/11 and George W reallocating immigration enforcement resources since then toward national security. Nonetheless, this makes me ask some good questions; how much enforcement resources are really being applied toward the EMPLOYERS of illegal immigrants? How criminally accountable are we holding these employers? It seems to me that is half of the problem. What a mess.


  2. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

    In my opinion, it has less to do with 9.11 and mkore to do with the GOP being historically “friendly to business” interests, which, in this case, as in the case of Enron, etc., the government looks the other way as long as some of those dirty profits end up in the GOP war chest.


  3. Gabe (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

    “Among those arrested and charged in connection with the employment of immigrants are seven current and former managers and two lower-level employees of the company, said U.S. Attorney Glenn Suddaby.”
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/04/20/immigration.raids/index.html?section=cnn_topstories


  4. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

    Gabe, thanks for the link. nikkos stands corrected- employers as well as employees have in fact been nabbed in the “crackdown.”

    Note however that all of the employers arrested are decribed as “managers and lower-level employees,” and that in the article, ICE Chief Julie Myers (daughter of former Joint Chief Gen Richard Myers) is asked whether any senior managers were involved:

    “Asked if senior managers knew or should have known about the alleged violations, Myers said, “There’s no allegation of that at this time. It’s certainly an ongoing investigation. I will tell you, though, that we are troubled by some of the things that we’ve seen at IFCO.”

    I have a hunch the penalties for the managers that were arrested will be pretty lenient, unless the Bush administration is looking to make an example out of the these guys. Meanwhile, the workers will all be deported.


  5. Dave! (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 12:54 pm

    Actually:

    “Federal prosecutors said the seven current or former managers were charged with conspiracy to transport, harbor and encourage illegal immigrants to reside in the United States for commercial advantage and financial gain. The managers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each illegal immigrant worker.”

    (From the Reuters article.)


  6. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

    “Facing charges” is not the same as being convicted of said charges. We’ll see where this leads.


  7. The Sicilian (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

    Nikkos, I suspect you’re right. Mid-level Managers and lower level employees are set up as scapegoats, while CEO’s are pulling the puppet strings from above knowing they will have no accountability and their hands will never get dirty. The real world reality is that companies and corporations are run from the top down. These managers were given the green light for their activities from their superiors. The real answer in my opinion is to levy considerable CORPORATE fines, making shareholders demand accountability of their top management. We hear about accountability of individual managers, but never fining companies and corporate entities themselves. I suspect there is not even a legal mechanism for this in place. What I suggest will never happen anyway with this administration in power.


  8. Gabe (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

    you just can’t admit that you were wrong can you?


  9. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 1:17 pm

    What part of:

    “Gabe, thanks for the link. nikkos stands corrected- employers as well as employees have in fact been nabbed in the “crackdown.” ”

    did you not understand?

    I can’t get much plainer than ‘nikkos stands corrected.’


  10. Gabe (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    as my son would say “hold on their cowboy”. I wasn’t referring to my first link. I was referring to the link from Dave.


  11. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    Gabe-

    OK, fair enough, I’ll address that.

    All I’m saying is that being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted of a crime. Just because the charges carry heavy penaties does not mean the heaviest penalties will be levied. In addition, unlike their immigrant employees, the managers in question can probably afford a decent defense attorney.

    However, that being said, this is just the beginning. Who knows where the criminal proceedings will end up? I don’t.

    So, to sum up:
    I based my post on an incomplete article in the paper. I should have sourced it more carefully and fully. My mistake, for which I took and take full responsibility.

    The rhetorical scoreboard will be adjusted to reflect this lapse:

    nikkos 975,305
    Gabe: 1


  12. Gabe (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 3:11 pm

    Agreed. As they want you to believe here in the U.S., you are “innocent until proven guilty” or is it the other way around?

    Nice scoring. I see having your own metblog pays for itself.


  13. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 3:42 pm

    Yes, controlling the means of production does have its advantages. ;)


  14. Dave! (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 3:53 pm

    Nikkos: The managers were arrested, same as the illegal immigrant employees. The immigrants are also *facing* deportation, they haven’t been deported yet. There is a difference between being charged and being convicted–it’s called the presumption of innocence. It’s one of the things many people seem to forget about with respect to American criminal law.

    The managers arrested actually face potentially worse than most of the illegal immigrants. Considering most of the workers are from Mexico, where they may be poor but they aren’t likely to be tortured, I’d say facing 10 years in prison and $250k in fines is nothing to scoff at. Will they be convicted? Maybe or maybe not. Will the illegal workers be deported? Maybe or maybe not.

    I’m not saying that the illegal immigrants aren’t getting the shaft–I think they are. But I also think it’s highly likely that these 7 (or 9) middle managers will face some real hard time, as a political ploy. But you didn’t address that in your post… an assumption that misdirects from the true problem.

    The problem here isn’t upper-level or middle management. The problem is not hard-working immigrants who want to earn a living. The problem is U.S. immigration policy. And we’re *all* victims of that.


  15. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    Dave-

    You are correct. However I did not address the managers’ fate in my initial post because I did not know they had been arrested. Since my facts were wrong, my extrapolatins thereof are also incorrect.

    If I could go back and redo this entire post, I think I would couch it very differently- more as an FYI, “did you know this was happening in Chicago?” thing rather than an opportunity to make a point.

    It’s hard to presume the innocence of someone who’s been accused of hiring illegal imigrants when there are in fact illegal immigrants working in the back, but I concede the point that they are in fact innocent until proven guilty. Not knowing much about this company, and its politcial connections or lack thereof, it’s hard for me to speculate whether they will get off, or do hard time, or something in between.

    It seems to me without question that any illegals will be deported- as far as I know there is no legal process- no chance to plead one’s case, so to speak- so I think they will simply be shown the door.

    The more I think about this case, now that I have more facts in front of me, it does appear to be a bit of a political stunt- an attempt to show that the governement, and in particular ICE, is flexing its muscles and exerting some control, however tenuous.

    I’d like to know more and I hope more details emerge:
    – If the illegal immigrants in question were being paid a legal wage or if they were being exploited based on their illegal status,

    – I’d like to know how widespread a policy this is for this particular company,

    – I’d like to know why this particular company is in the government’s cross-hairs- if there are as many illegal immigrants as we have been told, there are MANY, MANY other companies doing the same thing,

    – I’d like to know about the political affiliations, if any, of the company and its management team

    Thanks, as always, for your comments.


  16. nikkos (unregistered) on April 20th, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

    Some additional follow-up info from the Tribune:
    “Activists decry immigration arrests”
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/custom/newsroom/chi-060420immigrants,1,716590.story?coll=chi-news-hed

    While activists argue for a moratorium on arrests until new legislation is hammered out, it turns out that those arrested will have a chance to plead their case before an immigration judge before a decision is made reagrding their fate.



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