Sometimes, I think that the Boston Globe is deliberately obtuse on the issue of illegal aliens. And yesterday I had even more affirmation of that theory.
On their Op-Ed page, they featured a guest column by Rocio Saenz, the president of Local 615 of the Service Industry Employees Union (SEIU 615, for short). Saenz decries employer mistreatment, abuse, and exploitation of immigrant employees.
But as is often the case in the Globe, most of the offenses are almost entirely the problem of not all immigrant workers, but illegal immigrant workers. Massachusetts is already one of the most union-friendly and worker-friendly (no, those two are NOT synonymous) states in the Union, so those workers who feel exploited, abused, or endangered by their employer already have access to numerous resources to protect themselves — UNLESS the worker has reason to fear any sort of official attention or notice, such as being in the country illegally in the first place, and violated more of our laws in gaining that job.
Now, normally, this piece wouldn’t be worth my attention. But just a few pages away was black and white proof of what I am arguing.
Let me sum up: a Saudi princess was arrested and charged on numerous charges related to her hiring, abusing, and exploiting illegal aliens for domestic duties. Hana Al Jader, 40, had kept two Indonesian servants as virtual slaves in her home. But she lucked out and found a sympathetic judge. In a plea bargain, they dropped the “domestic servitude” and “forced labor” charges, and gave her a slap on the wrist: $207,000 in restitution, $40,000 in fines, six months house arrest, 100 hours community service, and deportation once all that was done. (Back in September, she pleaded guilty to federal charges of harboring illegal aliens and other immigration violations.)
Here we have a textbook case of precisely the sort of abuse Saenz decries, and no one can defend her actions (except, of course, those Saudi/Muslim apologists who say that she was just “following the mores and dictates of her own culture” — and don’t laugh, it’s been done) — yet she gets away with little more than a slap on the wrist.
And at the root of both pieces, utterly overlooked by both authors: the key element is that the workers are here and working in violation of existing immigration and labor laws, leaving them far more vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers than those here legally.
And how the hell does anyone think that someone willing to break the law to hire illegal aliens would have respect for other laws, those aimed at protecting workers?