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The Forced Labor Convictions Come One by One Hurrah? Hurrah?

author Published by Jared Culver

There is a good deal of discussion right now about forced labor in China and the seafood industry, among others. Many in Congress are up in arms about securing America’s supply chain to ensure goods and services entering America are not enabled by forced labor. While this is laudable, the same Congress, media, and Executive Branch have enabled and largely ignored the forced labor being fed largely by our lax immigration system. 

On April 30, 2024, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a 20-year prison sentence for forced labor and human trafficking. Jesus Ruiz-Hernandez, aka Christo Jesus Escobar Solares, presented himself as a hard-working entrepreneur, but in reality, his landscaping business was built on enticing foreign workers to the United States and then using them as slave labor. One victim was not only physically abused and threatened, but also the jury found the slaver guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

On April 29, 2024, came a news story announcing the conviction of two people in Burlington County New Jersey for forced labor. Bolaji and Isiaka Bolarinwa – originally from Nigeria, recruited an alien to come to the United States, seized their passport, physically abused them, and threatened their daughter to coerce them into ceaseless domestic service. 

Meanwhile, in the town with the best name in America, Kalamazoo Michigan, law enforcement announced charges against three people for human trafficking and forced labor after enticing an alien to the country under the auspices of marriage. The three allegedly forced the alien to work long hours with no pay at threat of violence. 

Now, we have covered this forced labor crisis for a while. There is no doubt that forced labor and child labor are high for migrant populations, legal or illegal. So why do the media and Washington D.C. have such a difficult time making the connection? Both with child labor and forced labor, the call is coming from inside the house. 

Any solution to the forced labor crisis must begin with eliminating the modern slave trade that is occurring at our border. Absent substantive policy reforms, like in H.R. 2, the cartels will continue to count their cash along with the employers they are feeding slaves. Mandatory E-Verify nationwide is the simplest solution available to stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants to exploit them. Anyone opposing E-Verify must explain why they think this level of depravity among employers is preferable to mandatory E-Verify.

As for the well-documented exploitation of the legal immigration system, the only sensible solution is the reduction of the numbers. We simply cannot regulate the immigration system at the current scope and scale. The Department of Labor (DOL) is setting records for the lowest number of closed cases in the exponentially expanding H-2A program. Backlogs are endemic across the immigration landscape. Our enforcement agencies are completely overwhelmed and enforcement of the law has suffered. 

The flooding of the zone in immigration means the number of potential victims correlates directly with the reduction in enforcement capacity by the government. This is obviously an extremely dangerous scenario and the results are as tragic as they are predictable. Our only way out is to reduce the number of potential victims to one we can reasonably protect. Both Biden and Congress are culpable by reckless omission, if not criminal commission, depending on your point of view. In November, they will rise to face the jury of American voters. 

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