The New York Times weighs in on the important issue of the H2-A guestworker program. The Cliff’s Notes version is this:
- The program is inherently flawed and likely to lead inexorably to numerous cases of abuse and slavery.
- The Bush Administration is opening the floodgates to admit hundreds of thousands of guestworkers into the United States. It’s a disaster in the making. History shows that these programs are doomed to human rights and labor abuse. It’s a sleazy, lame, wishful-but-harmful way out of our immigration problem.
I’ve been trying to get two different magazines to publish an article I wrote about the subject. I can’t write about it ’til it runs, but one of the mags spent $15,000 for me to report it, so obviously, it’s a big deal. Unfortunately, now that the economy is collapsing, the problems of migrant workers aren’t likely to be top priority.
But this editorial is both a) a good sign and b) a massive understatement. The Times states that “by weakening protections for legal workers, the changes would invite abuse and make a flawed program worse.” So, imagine: what is worse than the current farmworker landscape in the United States? Yep: slavery and near-slavery. How low can we go? Apparently, we’re not there yet.