January 7, 2006


Illegal workers create ID crisis: Meatpacking towns say fake identities can create 'ghost' population (JIM RAGSDALE, 1/07/06, Pioneer Press)

In Minnesota towns where hogs and turkeys meet their ends at the hands of workers from foreign lands, local officials often find themselves asking newcomers a simple question.

Who are you?

A worker with questionable immigration status may be carrying equally questionable identification. In Austin, where immigrants are lured by pork processing jobs, Mower County Attorney Patrick Flanagan has seen enough bad-ID cases to worry about a sizable "ghost'' population of misidentified residents.

"If you're a ghost, how can we help you? How can anyone help you?" he asked.

Imagine a small, rural community where people are used to knowing one another and where an unknown number of immigrants live and work under dubious names. Police agencies, courts, schools, health clinics and banks — all could be sitting on a shifting foundation.

In Worthington, another town transformed by immigrant workers, Sgt. Kevin Flynn is used to being told the name on a driver's license is just a "work name'' — not the name the motorist was born with, but the one that gets him a paycheck.

Legalize them: the problem goes away and the meat gets packed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2006 3:11 PM

Not on purpose, anyway.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 7, 2006 4:14 PM

The way it used to be was that there were a lot of small butchers everywhere. If you got rid of the illegals, the large processing plants would get smaller and we would have the local small businessman/butchers again. That's the way it works. I shot two rabbits this morning. Cleaned them and will eat them tomorrow. I'll bet the Minutemen also hunt.

Posted by: AllenS at January 7, 2006 6:08 PM

And our meat would be even more expensive--thanks, but no.

Posted by: Timothy at January 7, 2006 9:25 PM

Legalize them: the problem goes away and the meat gets packed.

And the next ten million? And the next? And the next? And the next? Including the gangsters, sexual predators, addicts and people with contagious diseases? And after your amnesty, OJ, do you then enforce immigration laws, or do you think we should continue to ignore them?

Let's face it, we got tricked with the last amnesty 20 years ago, which was supposed to be accompanied by stricter enforcement. Instead, the problem got worse.

I am not arguing against immigration, which is on the whole a Good Thing. But I want to see some quality control of the process, and recognition of a principle that should not be unfamiliar to a conservative: that it's possible to have too much of a Good Thing.

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 8, 2006 12:48 AM

Over the next twenty-five years America's going to need a minimum of 25 million new immigrants, legal or illegal; possibly as many as 50 million.

I'm all for screening immigrants to America, but to do that effectively, we'll also have to allow MUCH MORE LEGAL IMMIGRATION.

Until or unless the American public approves such, we're stuck with the current below-the-table system.

In any case, there won't be any slacking of American demand for immigrants over the next three decades, regardless of whether Joan Q. Public wants to acknowledge the demand, or not.
Any decrease in the rate of immigration, legal or illegal, will have to do with factors external to the U.S.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at January 8, 2006 1:19 AM


No, our current immigration laws ought not be enforced and won't be, they don't let in as many workers as we need.

You'll be tricked again next time too, we'll promise y'all better enforcemnent but no one is going to pay for it or staff it. Indeed, to have a big enough border patrol to slow immigration we'd need to staff it with illegals and cut entitlements and/or raise taxes--all non-starters.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2006 9:09 AM

Oj, all it would take is a shoot to kill border policy.

Posted by: Perry at January 9, 2006 12:47 AM

Yeah, 'cause that would solve more problems than it creates...

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at January 9, 2006 8:05 AM

"Legalize them: the problem goes away and the meat gets packed."

That's the liberal answer to illegal prostitution too.

Posted by: Noel at January 10, 2006 10:27 PM