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Another Development in the Immigration Debate
September 5, 2010 2:28 AM   Subscribe

Hawaiian leaders speak out over farmers convicted of human trafficking.
posted by parmanparman (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
B-b-but we need illegal immigrants to do the jobs Americans won't do!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:43 AM on September 5, 2010


wow. this is vile on too many levels.

all those letters of support add up to a bankrupt society that cares less for the support of human rights and more for money, money, money.

let the state of hawaii take over the damn farm and send those jerks to a rehabilitation unit.
preferably one where they can till the earth for far less than minimum wage.

and i say this as someone who hates prisons and has friends in them.

god, i feel soiled.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:48 AM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


In nearly all ways that matter, this is slavery.

I hope they put those guys away for a long time, and I'd love to see the people advocating for a light punishment put to work for six months or so on that same farm, in those same conditions.
posted by Malor at 3:37 AM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Aloun Farms ran a vegetable stand alongside their fields that I have stopped at a few times. I was always struck by how uncommunicative the people running the stand were...now I know it was because their English was limited.

The farm produces a lot of high quality local produce, but using duped labor to do it (foreign or not) is unforgivable. I wouldn't like to see the farm fail, since there doesn't seem to be anyone else producing on the scale that they are, but I also don't want to see dishonesty and exploitation rewarded.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:40 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope they put those guys away for a long time

As do I. Their farm should be confiscated using civil forfeiture proceedings (which I hate, but if you got 'em, use 'em).
Of course, what should really happen to slave holders in a republic of free men and women is immolation in a volcano, but that seems unlikely.
posted by atrazine at 3:46 AM on September 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


You know what? If the farm is that important to the state, have the state buy it and run it. Slave owners should face jail at the very least.

Personally, I'd confiscate the farm and turn it over to a cooperative consisting of the current folks working as slave labor.

And, hey, all you "illegal immigration is BAD" people: This is where the rubber meets the road. You want "illegals" to stop coming here? Toss these jerks, and jerks like them, in a volcano, as atrazine suggests.
posted by maxwelton at 3:56 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Some say...", right out of the gate. Way to stay in character, Fox News.
posted by mhoye at 4:07 AM on September 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


twoleftfeet: i stand corrected.
posted by stonepharisee at 4:36 AM on September 5, 2010


And, hey, all you "illegal immigration is BAD" people: This is where the rubber meets the road. You want "illegals" to stop coming here?

I don't think these "people" would have a problem with it.

I'd like to ask the same question of the "illegal immigrants: YAAAAY!" people. Coz one of the arguments I hear time and time again is "they are important to our country because they do the shit jobs no one else wants to do." Which is bee's dick away from this situation, and certainly leads to these situations arising.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:20 AM on September 5, 2010


I rarely read things in the news that make me angry, but this really did.

In about 120 letters to the judge supporting the Sou brothers, community members praise [...] their ability to provide up to 200 jobs at a time.

Erm, I thought those jobs were the problem? Madness.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 5:27 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to ask the same question of the "illegal immigrants: YAAAAY!" people. Coz one of the arguments I hear time and time again is "they are important to our country because they do the shit jobs no one else wants to do." Which is bee's dick away from this situation, and certainly leads to these situations arising.

You also always hear them say the solution is a guest worker program, with the same oversight from the state and local government that U.S. citizens benefit from in their jobs, but you seemed to have forgotten that part in constructing your straw man.
posted by stavrogin at 5:33 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


let the state of hawaii take over the damn farm...

Why even go that far? Are you telling me that no one else is capable of running the farm while these two criminals are doing time? Someone who runs another large farm? An agribusiness executive? These can't be the only two business owners who have ever gone to jail.

This is a scary misuse of the phrase "too big to fail." When people were saying it about the big banks, they were talking about actually dismantling the businesses. Now it's a shorthand for "hey, these are great businessmen and nice guys (if you put the whole slavery thing aside for a sec). It's an evil bit of linguistic sleight of hand, and I'm not surprised to see it coming from Fox News.
posted by PlusDistance at 5:39 AM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


You also always hear them say the solution is a guest worker program, with the same oversight from the state and local government that U.S. citizens benefit from in their jobs, but you seemed to have forgotten that part in constructing your straw man.

I think you need to look up the definition of straw man there, sizzlechest. I guess maxwelton's post must also be a straw man in your strange parallel universe? Coz all I did is flip his question around, and have the brass neck to at least try and answer it.

I can already see this developing into a YAAAAY-fest, but before I leave y'all to it, this was my first try at Googling the subject, second most popular result. Favorited a whopping 35 times by the Metafilter hive mind, bolds not mine.

California is the biggest agricultural state in the country. California grows many crops that must be picked by hand. When you keep illegal workers out, those crops aren't picked. For some reason, people who live here legally aren't willing to spend a full day doing hard, manual labor. Who is going to do those jobs when Americans won't? If illegal workers are taking jobs away from Americans, shouldn't Americans be standing on street corners hoping to be picked up by housepainters and landscapers? I don't see that happening.

[...]

The "serious illegal alien issue facing our country" is that we can't do without cheap labor. And Americans won't do those jobs.


http://www.metafilter.com/91342/Papers-please#3058060

YAAAAY!

posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:56 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's an excellent example of disconnection from the complexity of how things really are going on, and possibily on how to underrepresent it (thanks Fox).

The Sou brothers are slave exploiters, but as the slaves were operating in fields they were probably out-of-sight out-of-mind for most of the people. But as there were no evident shackles, how could one have told a slave from a worker? The incorrect automatic assumption is that they are willingly working there. And anyhow, that's none of "my" concern, it is the government job to investigate, one may have tought.

120 letters support the Sou brothers, pillars of the local economy! No less then two ex-governorns praise their success story! And if you asked them, I'm almost sure they would say they are "shocked, shocked!".

So while I'm in shock the next thing I would do is to write to the judge in support of the brothers. There must be some error! Probably there also was some communication error, they didn't understand that it's standard operating procedure to take the person passport away and to strangle them with debt at home.

The Sou brothers are indeed "work donors" and they all should be grateful for their being pillars of the local economy. The problems is in how they supported the economy.

Apparently they took some people a few thousand miles from the place they call home, they don't speak a word of the local language, their no doubt friendly "headhunters" at home found this job in a land far a way. Fear not, for they will take good care of you. The alternative, probably, is misery.

In order not to upset any right wing mouth foaming pseudo localist politician, you should keep a very low profile and take the worse jobs nobody wants, for a misery that is still a lot better than you would earn at home (probably thanks to markets that don't express the booming demand for foreign work in exchange rates, how curious).

But you don't speak a word of english, so it's a lot better if you stay in this tent we set for you at a reasonable price..not that you would mingle with the locals anyhow, you don't speak english.

Really, the Sou brothers, they're so good for you!
posted by elpapacito at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think you need to look up the definition of straw man there, sizzlechest. I guess maxwelton's post must also be a straw man in your strange parallel universe? Coz all I did is flip his question around, and have the brass neck to at least try and answer it.

You're saying that anyone who says we need immigrant labor is for slavery like conditions, but that's not a straw man? ok. Well, do you think a guest worker program won't stop a lot of this type of employer abuse?
posted by stavrogin at 6:29 AM on September 5, 2010


You're saying that anyone who says we need immigrant labor is for slavery like conditions...

That's what I was saying, huh? Oooh kay. Add reading comprehension to the things you need to brush up on.

Well, do you think a guest worker program won't stop a lot of this type of employer abuse?

Absolutely not. Naive of you to think otherwise. "Unicorns shitting rainbows" naive. Like any under funded government program [which is most of them, except for maybe those involving the War on Tuhr] it gets gamed quicker than you can say Jack Robinson.

I have a few blue collar buddies who have seen many examples. Sparkies and plumbers who subcontract to many businesses.

1. Get immigration visas for your slaves guest workers.
2. Pay them as per the government rules.
3. Better watch out for those government people who are gonna enforce those rules [ha!].
4. Charge them $300 per week "rent" for the shitty second hand mattress in the corner of the room they share with 3 other fellas.
5. Bring over a sack of rice every now and then for "free," because you're such a top boss and all.

The tragic thing is a lot of them still think they're living in farking paradise.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:50 AM on September 5, 2010


Hey, check out the benefits of being trafficked for the victims of these crimes.
posted by JohnR at 7:34 AM on September 5, 2010


So not only is the 14th Amendment needing "reform", but the 13th will also be getting a going over once the wingers pull off this coming federal election.
posted by warbaby at 8:02 AM on September 5, 2010


You know what? If the farm is that important to the state, have the state buy it and run it.

SOCIALIST!

[not socialist-ist]
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 AM on September 5, 2010


If they're guilty, throw the brothers in prison, and appoint a competent trustee to oversee the farm (while hiring legal workers, and helping de facto slave labour integrate into society). Case closed.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:40 AM on September 5, 2010


FYI, all, this is an AP report re-published on the Fox News website. The Associated Press reporter responsible for the story is Mark Niesse. Linkage.
posted by brina at 10:00 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope they can get real jobs now. The Clinton Administration assured that anyone who is brought over here through trafficking can obtain citizenship.
posted by anniecat at 10:04 AM on September 5, 2010


Wow, I would really like to see what those letters of support said. It's OK to have slaves if you are "too big to fail"? I thought these were the Tea-Party supporting people who *opposed* the bank bailouts? But slave owner bailouts are cool?

It's not OK to exploit people for a tiny amount of money, but if it's necessary for the common good, it's OK? This is the American, non-socialist way?

And the market wouldn't provide food if these guys weren't around to do it? Oh yeah, the prices would be higher because the workers would have to be paid, the way the market is, um, supposed to work...
posted by Maias at 10:28 AM on September 5, 2010


Illegal immigration is really irrelevant to this story. The issue here isn't that people came illegally or not. It's that people were held against their will and compelled to work. That may be a difficult difference to understand, but it's a very significant difference regardless.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:36 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am disgusted, but not surprised by this story. I remember when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was being debated, advocates claimed there were more slaves in the US today than there ever were during the era before the Civil War. If you count women trafficked as prostitutes, and migrant workers enslaved under conditions like these guys in Hawaii, the numbers were astonishing. The bulk of them are economic slaves, they are trying to work off their debt to their employer (e.g. housing or an immigration "sponsorship" fee) but somehow never make enough to buy their freedom.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:39 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This makes me so angry I could vomit.

"Aloha" is bullshit, and always has been.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:45 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought these were the Tea-Party supporting people who *opposed* the bank bailouts?

You did note the two ex-governors were Democrats? There's plenty of shittiness to go around all parties. Democrats are playing right into Republicans' hands when they pull shit like this. (See also: Charlie Rangel, Eddie Bernice Johnson.)
posted by kmz at 10:48 AM on September 5, 2010


What a weird defense: too big to fail? As in these two guys are the only people who know how to run that farm? I suppose if you don't pay your workers a legal, living wage, then yes, you'd make a lot of money from it.

It's astounding how some people look askance at anything wrong as long as profits are in the black.
posted by zardoz at 2:34 PM on September 5, 2010


FYI, all, this is an AP report re-published on the Fox News website. The Associated Press reporter responsible for the story is Mark Niesse.

Fox just kicked it up a notch with a "some say" and "too big to fail".

Who says headlines aren't important?
posted by gjc at 2:38 PM on September 5, 2010


Who says headlines aren't important?

Some.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:17 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Illegal immigration is really irrelevant to this story.

First we have the comment that anti illegal immigation people need to have a good hard look at themselves. And now this.

Illegal immigration is irrelevant? Despite the wildly popular theory that illegal immigration should be given the *nudge nudge wink wink say no more* treatment because they do the low paid, labor intensive work? Which is exacly what was happening on this farm.

It's like eavesdropping on a bunch of creationists talking about their theories. Delusional.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:17 PM on September 5, 2010


I suspect the former Democratic Governors were the only reason this got any play with Fox. Note thqat they didn't mention that the Department of Agriculture, which also provided a letter of support, is under a Republican administration.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:23 PM on September 5, 2010


Which is exacly what was happening on this farm.

But it seems like these workers were here legally. One can be a victim of human trafficking and still have come into the country on a legal visa.

The issue here is trafficking, not their immigration status, which seems to have been legal, at least when they entered the country.

Alec, who speaks Thai, admits traveling to Thailand to recruit the workers, that he knew workers were charged high recruitment fees for the opportunity to work in Hawaii, that he kept the workers on after their visas expired, that he did not pay for their air travel from Thailand to Hawaii and back even though he is required to under the H-2A visa program, and that when Chowsanitphon told the workers in Hawaii that their contract for $9.60 an hour was “just a piece of paper” to satisfy federal government requirements, and not real, Alec did nothing to correct him.
posted by rtha at 8:28 AM on September 6, 2010


Interesting that they left out how much Global Horizons Manpower owner Mordechai Orian donated to Republican candidates and campaigns.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:47 PM on September 7, 2010


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