The California clothing manufacturer, American Apparel, is firing about 1,800 employees whose identity documents contain irregularities. In other words, they are illegal aliens. The wording in the articles, columns, and editorials written about this would have you believe that the people being fired have done nothing wrong. But they have. They entered the U.S. illegally, overstayed their visas, or are otherwise not permitted to work in the U.S, but are. This doesn’t mean they are bad people, but they are experiencing the consequences of their own actions.
These firings are a gentler effort at enforcement than the much decried workplace raids. Dismissing illegal workers in this manner spares them the ignominy and serious discomforts of detention and deportation. Editorials and columnists are complaining about this type of enforcement now, too. The L.A .Times says that replacing illegal workers with U.S. citizens is a “shell game,” that those fired will be possibly be forced into sweatshops, crime, and public assistance. Tim Rutten, also in the L.A. Times, quotes Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane saying it’s “crazy” to think that the fired workers would return to their homelands. Yet, the L.A. Times reported in September that the Census shows the immigrant population is declining. It shrank 1.6 percent in California, and .3 percent nationwide.
California’s unemployment rate is 12.2 percent, far above the national average, and a 70-year high. These 1,800 jobs at American Apparel pay a living wage with benefits. Californians will be lining up for them as they did for jobs at the House of Raeford in Raeford, N.C. where illegal workers were replaced with unemployed Americans. The move was particularly beneficial for African Americans, who now make up 70 percent of the plant’s workers.
With unemployment numbers far above the national average and the talk of being the first failed state, California’s long history of turning a blind eye to immigration laws and illegal aliens is proving that laws and numbers matter.
Caroline Espinosa formerly was a U.S. Senate Press Secretary and spokesperson for NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Oct 6th 2009 @ 1:28pm EDT