The Latest Michael Moore message is about the INS
April 20, 2000 4:15 PM   Subscribe

The Latest Michael Moore message is about the INS trying to deport 8 hotel workers. The workers were arrested in a raid, thanks in part to their employers tipping the INS off, in retaliation for the workers starting a union. Even though they won a court battle over Holiday Inn's unjust labor actions, the INS is still after them. Is this fair?
posted by mathowie (8 comments total)
Nope, it's not fair at all. It's bs is what it is. Sorry - people hate hearing this from my Canadian mouth (and no, we're not better - or actually we're just as bad but in different ways) but the US is sooo schizophrenic about illegal immigrants! On one hand there are these huge fences with razorwire and heavily armed guards with dogs and night-vision goggles and stuff. And on the other - the whole agricultural economy in California. Or the hotel industry.

Both, to name just two, totally rely on a compliant workforce who won't start unions (Cesar Chavez was a long time ago) and cause troubles. A workforce made up of illegal immigrants - to pick the grapes in Napa and Sonoma etc., to work disneyland and all that crap in Anaheim, to pick the artichokes, whatever.

And when they do start a union, like in this case, the law is on their side and they're still screwed.
posted by mikel at 4:38 PM on April 20, 2000

ugh. Now why don't people like us run for president, hm? Why is it always rich conservative old guys?
posted by austinpopstar at 6:04 PM on April 20, 2000

I'm tired of the argument that without illegal immigrants, no one would do these menial jobs. This is bullshit. These jobs exist all of the world. They exist in parts of the US that don't have migrant labor.

I knew people in Montana who cleaned motel rooms. I worked on several farms doing minimum wage farm work. Without illegal immigrants someone else would do the work. Someone else would flip the burgers, someone else would do the cleaning, someone else would pick the crops.

The cop out that only illegal immigrants will do this work only helps perpetuate the mistreatment of aliens and the widening of the income gap between rich and poor.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:53 PM on April 20, 2000

I guess that was a bit off topic. So....

Yes, the workers should be deported (why wouldn't they?) and the hotel should get a serious fine.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:56 PM on April 20, 2000

A serious fine... That's the problem with this kind of crime. How many big businesses out there take chances with the law because they can afford a 'serious' fine? When the law works for them (to get undesirables deported), it's great. When it doesn't work for them, they just ignore it. Oh, and get a fine. Boo hoo.
posted by owen at 7:04 PM on April 20, 2000

As Michael Moore asked, I wrote an email to The workers shouldn't be deported because the call from Holiday that informed the INS about the existence of the eight illegal aliens was itself an attempt to break the law. In a normal trial, such evidence would most likely be thrown out of court on the grounds that it was illegally obtained. I don't know much about law, but I imagine that the rules are much different in INS hearings like this one. No doubt they'll all be deported no matter how many emails are sent.y6y6y6, obviously illegal immigrants aren't the only ones doing menial labor. We've all worked shitty jobs. The difference is that for years Holiday Inn can get away with paying these women jack-shit because the moment they try to band together and work towards getting a little more cash, Holiday Inn calls in the man and has them deported. That may not be a straight violation of the law, but it's damn bad form. If the employees were U.S. citizens, Holiday Inn would have had to tolerate the employees' attempts to unionize, since the law was on their side. Holiday Inn's punishment should be this: they get a big ass fine (lord knows the parent company Bass Ale can manage), a third of which goes to the U.S. court system for its expenses. The rest of the fine pays for a 30 second prime-time network TV spot to be run for seven days straight. In the ad, someone like Michael Moore calmly describes Holiday Inn's offense and urges the public not to support the motel chain unless they cut the shit and start treating their employees fairly. Big businesses won't start behaving until we customers show that we refuse to tolerate their mistakes and legal violations by not giving them our business.
posted by sixfoot6 at 8:00 PM on April 20, 2000

If the fine is going to be effective it would just have to be large enough to make up the difference between what they were paying and what they would have to pay with the union, plus 25%. At that point there is no motivation to hire illegal aliens because it will cost more in the long run.

The faster we send aliens back, the sooner people in these jobs will be able to organizer for better pay. So the workers go back and the company pays the price for hiring them in the first place. How can not send the illegal aliens back? You have them nailed. They snuck across the border and they got caught. How they got doesn't matter in this case. These aren't citizens. You want to give them the legal protections of citizens.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:36 PM on April 20, 2000

Certainly, no one should be hiring illegal aliens in the first place, and these kind of jobs would probably bring employees higher wages if that was the case. As owen said, this is a case of big business only obeying the law when it's convenient, and it's a shame that real people get their lives turned upside down because of it. Of course, I suppose thats what you bargain for when you come the this country illegally. I don't want to give them the legal rights of citizens, I want to give them the legal rights of legal immigrants.Sneaking across the border into the U.S. isn't like sneaking out of prison. These women are not criminals, they are peole with families who work hard but happen to be here without "permission". Maybe we shouldn't just open up the floodgates and let in anyone, but for me the immigration laws in our country seem a bit too strict. What are we so afraid of?
posted by sixfoot6 at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2000

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