Plantation of Angels

Published on October 31st, 2008

In Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s recent letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff about ICE’s minimal workplace enforcement he expresses grave concern, “Together with the region’s business leadership…”

There is hardly a sentence in his letter that doesn’t mention the economy, workers, business, industry, etc. There is only a superficial reference to law enforcement. He does believe that employers who exploit illegal aliens should be targeted but cautions that our economy depends on “these workers,” (illegal aliens).

This claim is nothing new. A century and a half ago it was believed that without slavery most of the business in the South would be eliminated, and the country’s supply of cotton would be cut off hurting both the North and the South. It was repeatedly argued that freeing slaves would cause America’s economy to collapse. That economic argument was used to justify an illegal act—slavery. It is the same argument we hear today, that without illegal alien workers our economy will collapse. This is the 21st century plantation mentality.

The 21st century plantation is a little different from those in the past. For instance, there is no Simon Legree brutalizing the slaves. The modern Plantation Overseer equally protects the plantation workers and the corporate masters from those charged with enforcing the law.

Over the past 150 years we have gone from slavery, to emancipation, to sharecropping, to civil rights only to find ourselves back on the plantation with business owners making the same false claims to justify their illegal act—without cheap illegal alien labor the economy will collapse. Just as in the past, the plantation owners have politicians making the case for them. And, as in the past, the plantation owners are wrong.

There is no economic evidence that there is a labor shortage or that our economy needs illegal alien workers at all. There is, however, ample evidence that in the next forty years our nation’s population will grow from the current 300 million to half a billion people at the current rate of legal and illegal immigration. California will grow from 38 million to 60 million in the same time frame with 100% of the increase coming from immigration. And for what? So that business can have unlimited access to cheap foreign labor? That explanation is not likely to sit well with the next generation who will feel the effects of this unprecedented population explosion.

Many are already experiencing the effects of explosive population growth on crime, education, healthcare and the environment. A check of Los Angeles’ infrastructure will find the largest most violent illegal alien gangs in the country. Hospitals are going broke and schools are bursting at the seams while they report the highest drop out rate and lowest academic achievement in the country. And what is the effect on the environment? It doesn’t take John Muir to predict the result of paving over farmlands and orchards to build houses and strip malls for the influx of cheap labor for business—more people equals less food, greater demands on natural resources, more waste and continued environmental degradation.

His letter to DHS will insure a continued population increase in Los Angeles and surrounding communities because it is also a welcome mat. While the Mayor attempts to thwart enforcement of the law he is simultaneously encouraging illegal aliens to come to L.A. and reassuring the ones already there that they can stay.

Antonio Villaraigosa has been a leader of the radical MEChA: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán), President of the Los Angeles chapter of the ACLU, Los Angeles City Councilman, California state assemblyman and Speaker of the California Assembly. With this letter to the feds, as he looks to return to Sacramento eventually as governor, Villaraigosa can add one more job title to his resume; Overseer of the Plantation of Angels.

Rick Oltman is the National Media Director for Californians for Population Stabilization (www.CAPSweb.org) and can be reached at [email protected].

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