A Cheap Shot at Workers

The New York Times weighs in on the important issue of the H2-A guestworker program. The Cliff’s Notes version is this:

  1. The program is inherently flawed and likely to lead inexorably to numerous cases of abuse and slavery.
  2. 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.

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