Immigration enforcement led to black employment

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

When one hears that an immigration enforcement activity caused about 800 people to lose their jobs, you would expect such a story to make headlines on the day it happened. If not that very day, then within days of it happening. Yet because of the manner in which it occurred, it was off the radar of major newspapers and television news stations in Chicago and around the country for months. 

Cloverhill Bakery, located in the Galewood section of Austin, had placed it ducats in the use of labor from temp agencies. It is the modern day method of guaranteeing that blacks will not be hired. How many black people pay attention to ads looking for workers when those ads are not in English? Or walk into the temporary agency affiliated with a particular factory and all of a sudden no one can speak English? 

If the loss of 800 workers represented about 35 percent of the work force, how come there wasn't an employment office within the bakery to hire its own workers? Anyone who knows how temp agencies work, knows that if the worker is getting paid $10 an hour, then the temp agency is probably getting at least $15 or more. Multiply that $5 by 800 workers and that is $4,000 an hour. Multiply that $4,000 by a 24-hour day and that amounts to $96,000 a day! 

I remember hearing last summer something about a bakery losing a bunch of workers. But that news was in passing as I helped someone write their résumé. I had meant to look into it further, but didn't. One of the reasons the situation got overlooked is that ICE performed an I-9 audit. It basically sent letters to both the employer and the employees that their information didn't match. In other words, at least 800 employees sent to the bakery by their temp agency had phony paperwork. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that those folks had to have some help.

I have never been one to buy into the hype about illegal immigration not hurting black people. Prior to the enforcement raid, the bakery was heavily filled with foreign nationals who were predominately from Mexico. After the enforcement action, those same jobs now have black workers. The salaries also increased from $10 an hour to $14 an hour. That is good for the workers, but as I pointed out, the amount probably being paid to the temp agency was most likely at least $15.

Where have black leadership and black politicians been on this issue? They prove their "bought and paid for status" by their repeated silence. Let one man be dragged off a plane and certain folks were ready to march on O'Hare Airport. Let a workforce go from predominately Hispanic and illegal aliens to one that is black and no one questions why it was allowed to happen in the first place.

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Reader Comments

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Coetta Wilson  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 5:50 PM

The problem is illegal immigration and employers, like the temp agency, falsifying records. Offering lower wages so company executives and owners can pocket more money. Lower wages and unemployment causes homelessness, criminal activity and imprisonment. ICE should perform more audits in other cities so that more black women and men, especially, can provide for their families legally and not turn to selling drugs and other unlawful activities. Kamala Harris wants to use her past record of prosecuting black men as her way of getting tough on crime. Poverty causes crime!!!

Katrina Spears  

Posted: March 30th, 2018 11:55 AM

So You're blaming Immigration for the Problem of the bakery not hiring blacks but failed to blame the bakery owner for not wanting to hire blacks.

Casey Tee  

Posted: March 27th, 2018 2:42 PM

Racist, much ?

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