I’ve written before about the joys of having a two-newspaper town, like Boston does. Such competition is a wonderful way to assure quality, as they spend a great deal of effort trying to one-up each other. If one gets a great scoop, the other paper will kill itself to either top it, or find more info on the story that the first missed.
And if that scoop is in a field that the other paper considers its turf, it’s all the better.
For years, the illegal alien issue has been a sharp, divisive issue between the Globe and the Herald. The Glob takes the liberal party line — they’re all just immigrants, the “legal/illegal” division is pointless, and we should welcome all immigrants, whether or not they bother to do such complicated things as ask to come in first. The Herald, on the other hand, has presented the voice of sanity — illegal aliens are breaking the law every day, and we’re all paying the price for that.
So, last Sunday, when the Glob did a piece exposing the state’s hiring of contractors who employ illegal aliens, the Herald didn’t care that the Glob’s motive was to make a political “hit” against a candidate they didn’t like. They saw the Glob intruding on THEIR TURF, and by god they were NOT gonna let the Boring Broadsheet own that story.
So while the Glob’s reporters pored over financial reports and audits and the like, the Herald’s snoops actually got their hands dirty by visiting construction sites and talking with the faces behind the fake Social Security numbers. And the results are as horrifying as they are predictable:
- Serious safety violations, including shoddy scaffolding, no safety harnesses, and one guy firing a nail gun into a floor right over another worker’s head
- Grossly below-average pay scales, often unreported (“under the table”)
- Workers openly admitting they were illegal aliens, and willing to reveal how they got fraudulent identity papers
And in the most disturbing case, one construction worker turned out to be a 15-year-old illegal alien from Guatemala, getting $6.00/hour for 10-hour days. I’m no accountant or lawyer, so I can’t even begin to count the number of laws being broken in his case alone.
This is a glimpse into the true price of illegal aliens. The state of Massachusetts controls the wages paid to construction workers, then hires the companies that freely and openly ignore those laws. Well-paid jobs Americans would gladly take are going instead to illegal aliens. Refugees from other lands find they must live as little better than slaves or risk being turned in to immigration authorities.
And anyone who points out these things to officials charged with enforcing these laws finds themselves humored, mollified, or ignored while the status quo continues.
Perhaps those of us who oppose illegal immigration and all the exploitations and abuse that come with that need a public makeover. Maybe we can start calling ourselves “the new abolitionists” and try to reach beyond traditional partisan lines for support. There’s absolutely no reason why human rights groups and trade unions shouldn’t be on our side, and there’s never a lack of leftists willing to go after Big Business for any reason.
Historically, the original Abolitionists were more aligned with the Republicans, but around the Civil War there were Democrats of good conscience who rejected their party’s offiical pro-slavery position. We ought to push to make the fight against illegal immigration — and the exploitation of illegal aliens — a non-partisan issue.
Alas, I don’t see that happening any time soon.