FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Securing the Homeland for Whom?

Recently, U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents helped to arrest over a thousand undocumented immigrant laborers in more than two dozen states. Some of them were deported.

These immigrant laborers had produced wealth for IFCO Systems North America, a firm that makes and sells wooden crates and pallets. IFCO is part of the U.S. manufacturing sector with over 14 million workers.

These employees produced $107 billion of wood products in 2004, according to Department of Commerce data. Undocumented immigrant workers who earn low (non-union) wages contributed to that output.

Companies and the politicians they fund grasp that low wages create high profits. The lower the wages of immigrant workers without documents the more their bosses gain.

Officially, the DHS crackdown was designed to make the U.S. public feel more safe and secure from the threat posed by undocumented immigrant workers such as those on the IFCO payroll. For that reason, DHS chief Michael Chertoff called these laborers “criminal aliens.”

This is a scare term. It is crafted to link undocumented Mexican and Central American workers in the U.S. with the mainly Saudi Arabian terrorists involved in the crimes against humanity on September 11, 2001.

Days after the DHS cracked down on IFCO’s undocumented immigrant employees, Californians learned they would get no federal funds for emergency repairs to the state’s levee system. An official under the homeland security chief delivered the sour news to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So it is too bad and so sad for those who live near bodies of water that rise in winter and spring behind the state’s porous levees on the governor’s watch. Uncle Sam will only allocate emergency funds after a disaster, not before.

And Californians in harm’s way from flooding? Presumably, they can take comfort from the efforts of the DHS in securing the homeland from the menace of “criminal aliens” laboring in the nation’s durable goods sector.

Pondering this logic might be some of the two million-plus residents of the six-county Sacramento region. Its suburban sprawl near levees at-risk from a melting snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range to the east, is due partly to Phil Angelides, the Democratic state treasure and former real estate developer turned gubernatorial candidate.

Add to that marriage of business and politics the fact that such sprawl was made possible in part by the low-wage labor of so-called “criminal aliens” employed by construction companies in the Sacramento region. This is one case concerning the many moving parts–commercial, ideological and political–involved in the rhetoric of securing the homeland since Sept. 11.

In the meantime, the nation’s employers will go on seeking low-wage labor in concert with political circles of power. And the DHS will continue trying to add another layer of fear to the psyche of the U.S. public.

How it will respond to these overlapping processes is unclear. Much hangs in the balance.

SETH SANDRONSKY is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor of Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at ssandron@hotmail.com

 

 

More articles by:

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Email sethsandronsky@gmail.com

March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
Dean Baker
In Praise of Budget Deficits
Howard Lisnoff
Want Your Kids to Make it Big in the World of Elite Education in the U.S.?
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Foreign Policy is Based on Confrontation and Malevolence
John W. Whitehead
Pity the Nation: War Spending is Bankrupting America
Priti Gulati Cox
“Maria! Maria! It Was Maria That Destroyed Us!” The Human Story
Missy Comley Beattie
On Our Knees
Mike Garrity – Carole King
A Landscape Lewis and Clark Would Recognize is Under Threat
Robert Fantina
The Media-Created Front Runners
Tom Clifford
Bloody Sunday and the Charging of Soldier F
Ron Jacobs
All the Livelong Day      
Christopher Brauchli
Banking, Wells Fargo-Style
Jeff Mackler
After Week-Long Strike, Oakland Teachers’ Contract Falls Short
Chuck Collins
Bring Back Eisenhower Socialism!
Binoy Kampmark
Grounding Boeing
James Munson
Why Are We Still Sycophants?
Jill Richardson
Politicians Are Finally Catching Up on Marijuana
Warren Alan Tidwell
Disasters Don’t Discriminate, But Disaster Recovery Does
Robert Koehler
Artifial Morality
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Goodenough Island in MacArthur’s Wake
Alex McDonald
U.S. Iran Policy: What is Great?
Tracey L. Rogers
Stop Making Women Apologize
John Sarbanes – Michael Brune
To Clean Up the Planet, Clean Up DC First
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail