An overlooked outcome of illegal immigration: human trafficking

Photo Courtesy of Don’t Get too Comfortable

Eric Velander

Illegal immigration in the United States is a humanitarian crisis. The numbers support that chilling Truth. I care not why the media has chosen to label the curtailing of this economically and spiritually destructive, brutal process as unkind, but I will attempt to refocus the lens.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and USDA estimate a fourfold increase in illegal farm workers since 1991, with the total now hovering around 50% of the workforce. Some states and labor unions estimate the number to be up to 70%. The remaining 30-50%, citizens and green card holders, make anywhere from $10,000 to $13,000 a year, with the federal poverty line at $10,830/year.

There is no easy way to track how much illegal immigrants are paid, but anecdotal reports from immigrants dot the digital landscape, reporting anywhere from $60 to hundreds of dollars a day for the right crop. This is often backbreaking seasonal work in the sun for what amounts to less than minimum wage, without benefits.These “wages” are why you can get a Texas grapefruit for under one dollar at Hy-Vee in Nebraska in the middle of winter.

Big business loves the cheap labor. Small businesses and chains, alike, love how fast the produce moves, and how little money they wasted when they toss the excess. You love the cheap strawberries for your midday snack. Why change it?

We need to change it because support for the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S. is cruel, and demonstrative of shortsighted, greedy logic.

Our insistence that all people deserve to come here for economic agency, The American Dream, is built on the unseen backs of the un-insurable, perpetually disenfranchised, often victimized people of countries less fortunate.

We could be a land of legitimate opportunity for immigrants, but we are not.

I speak plainly. These people are victims of human trafficking. This type of human trafficking, until recently, was implicitly encouraged by the government as well as conglomerates and farmers employing unskilled workers. These people are slaves. These people are human machinery used to keep our goods artificially cheap.

There will be an economic shift, hitting business and consumers, alike. A similar paradigm shift in the late 1800s is part of the reason we waged civil war, and why President Lincoln was assassinated. It scared the plantation owners and threatened our artificially low-cost agricultural goods. We survived that, and we will survive this shift without a war or an assassination.

Paths to a legitimate, taxable, and trackable workforce are, by far, the most humanitarian effort the U.S. can undertake within our borders. Yes, this effort will have massive short-term economic consequences, and come with superficial humanitarian worries, but in less than a decade the U.S. could insure, pay, and tax millions of people fairly, for the benefit of all.

Violent Cartels and Coyotes are directly empowered by this flow of illegal immigration and the government’s blind eye. Amnesty International reports an estimated 80% of women and children illegally crossing the border from Mexico are sexually assaulted by their Coyotes, each other, or government officials.

The proposal unfairly lambasted by your media and uncaring CEOs, and unduly protested by thousands of illegal immigrants and concerned U.S. citizens, is as follows: Stop the end of human trafficking and slavery fueled by lax immigration policies and open borders. Pay, insure, and tax all of our workers fairly.

Give everyone working here a fair shot at the American Dream. The opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If you are interested in ending human trafficking of all types, please read up on Amnesty International, The Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or any number of other organizations committed to the demonetization of the human spirit. You can also look into voting for politicians who wish to end illegal immigration.

An estimated 20.9 million adults and children and sold into sex and labor slavery a year, worldwide. We can end slavery and we can do it together through education and stern reform.