View Full Version : Alabama Considers Inmates to Replace Immigrant Labor
12-07-2011, 05:32 AM
But Prison spokesman says they are already working.
So how is that mandatory ID law Republicans forced on the state working out?
Ala. considers inmates to replace immigrant labor (http://news.yahoo.com/ala-considers-inmates-replace-immigrant-labor-203344648.html)
By JAY REEVES | AP – 11 hrs ago
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama agriculture officials are considering whether prisoners can fill a chronic labor shortage the farm agency blames on the state's new law against illegal immigration.
Brett Hall, a deputy commissioner with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, said planting season is coming up in south Alabama, and some growers fear most of their usual workers have left the state because of the law.
The nursery and landscape industry will need as many as 4,000 workers in southern counties early in 2012 to get ready for the growing season, he said, and forestry and farming will require still more laborers. Unable to find legal residents to fill all the employment gaps, Hall said the Agriculture Department is consulting with the Department of Corrections to determine whether prisoners could do some of the work.
"We're trying to get ahead of the curve and see if we can be of assistance to other parts of Alabama, too," Hall said Monday, a day before the agency held a meeting Tuesday afternoon with farmers and agriculture industry officials in Mobile.
Prison spokesman Brian Corbett said the state has about 2,000 work-release prisoners who could be eligible to perform such work, and the department is "always happy to promote our ... program to employers as an alternative labor situation." Work-release inmates aren't the solution to labor shortages that may be linked to the law, however, according to Corbett.
"Many, if not most, of those 2,000 are already employed," he said.
Farmers have complained of a lack of field hands since parts of the law took effect in late September. Many have said legal residents aren't physically able or mentally tough enough to perform the work, and others won't do so because it doesn't pay enough.
12-07-2011, 05:40 AM
Turning schools and police into the gestapo doesn't seem to be working...
Ala. Immigration Law Back In Spotlight After Mercedes-Benz Exec Is Arrested (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/11/22/142658357/ala-immigration-law-back-in-spotlight-after-mercedes-benz-exec-is-arrested)
Categories: Immigration (http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=127604136), National News (http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=127602855)
by Eyder Peralta
http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2011/11/22/ap09120208481_wide.jpg?t=1321985666&s=3 Enlarge Joerg Sarbach /ASSOCIATED PRESS Foliage is seen on the engine hood of a Mercedes Benz.
Last week, a Mercedes-Benz executive was stopped by police in Alabama because his rental car did not have a license plate. He had a German identification card but had left his passport and driver's license at his hotel.
According to Reuters, (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/22/us-immigration-alabama-merceades-idUSTRE7AL0DT20111122) Detlev Hager was taken into custody for violating Alabama's immigration law, which has been called one of the toughest in the country. Under the new law, everyone must carry a valid ID, if not they are headed to jail. Previously, reports Reuters, the driver would have been given a citation and been let go.
Now, the arrest happened Wednesday. But today, across Alabama, the papers are asking if the arrest will affect foreign investment in the state. The German automaker's Tuscaloosa factory was a big win for the state.
Among the headlines from the editorial boards:
— The Tuscaloosa News writes (http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20111122/NEWS/111129966?tc=ar): "Immigration law is costing Alabama jobs".
— The Birmingham News writes: (http://blog.al.com/birmingham-news-commentary/2011/11/our_view_the_arrest_of_a_merce.html) "The arrest of a Mercedes manager under the immigration law shows the danger that exists for international companies looking to expand into Alabama".
In an opinion piece from The Huntsville Times, Mike Hollis writes (http://blog.al.com/times-views/2011/11/editorial_conjuring_up_an_ugly.html) that the arrest reminds him of Alabama's "ugly past." Hollis writes that people should look beyond what the law does for business: It bans any transaction between state or local governments and illegal aliens. Thus it is illegal for any public utility to sell water, gas and electricity to anyone who isn't here legally. Think about the potential for unintended consequences in a cold Alabama winter.
And think about what foreign business leaders might think about us now that we have arrested a German executive during his trip to Alabama's first foreign auto plant.
We clearly do not need this law the way it is written now.
The Birmingham News also spoke (http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/11/immigration_law_raises_worries.html) to business leaders across the state, who called the arrest an "embarrassment." Here's a bit of the conversation the paper had with one leader: "Sometimes we forget in Alabama that when we label a group as a problem and when we paint the brush so broadly, we've included most of the world," said David Bronner, chief executive of the Retirement Systems of Alabama and a key player in luring new business to the state.
Bronner said companies looking to invest in the U.S. are watching the controversy over the immigration law, and at the same time, Alabama's competitors are reminding those companies of the issue.
"We've used difficulties in other states to make sure those people come and look here," he said. "We've just used a hammer and we've hit ourselves over the head with it."
Reuters reports that the incident has even Republican Governor Robert Bentley, who was a supporter of the law, reconsidering. Reuters reports that the governor was considering revisions because of a "number of unintended consequences."
12-07-2011, 07:20 AM
Prison labor is a big topic right now for me.
That One Guy
12-07-2011, 07:37 AM
Put everyone on chain gangs and if they refuse to work, give them bread and water until they do.
As for the jobs, increase the pay and people will take them.
12-07-2011, 07:38 AM
Sweet. Inmmates should being doing work anyway,
12-07-2011, 08:32 AM
"Prison–industrial complex" (PIC) is a term used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. The term is analogous to the military–industrial complex that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of in his famous 1961 farewell address. Such groups include corporations that contract prison labor, construction companies, surveillance technology vendors, lawyers, and lobby groups that represent them. Activists have described the prison industrial complex as perpetuating a belief that imprisonment is a quick fix to underlying social problems such as homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy.
The promotion of prison building as a job creator and the use of inmate labor are also cited as elements of the prison industrial complex. The term often implies a network of actors who are motivated by making profit rather than solely by punishing or rehabilitating criminals or reducing crime rates. Proponents of this view believe that the desire for monetary gain has led to the growth of the prison industry and the number of incarcerated individuals. These views are often shared by people who fear or condemn excessive use of power by government, particularly when related to law enforcement and military affairs.
12-07-2011, 08:33 AM
Sweet. Inmmates should being doing work anyway,
The 13th Amendment of the American Constitution in 1865 explicitly allows penal labour as it states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." However the "convict lease" system became popular in the South in the late 19th century. Since the impoverished state governments could not afford penitentiaries, they leased out prisoners to work at private firms. Douglas A. Blackmon argues that it was Southern policy to intimidate blacks; tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested and leased to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. The state governments maximized profits by putting the responsibility on the lessee to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for the prisoners, which resulted in extremely poor conditions, numerous deaths, and perhaps the most inhumane system of labour in the United States. Reformers abolished convict lease in the Progressive Era, stopping the system in Florida in 1919. The last state to abolish the practice was Alabama in 1927.
Penal labour is sometimes used as a punishment in the U.S. military.
Present-day prison work programs and work release programs may or may not be classed as penal labour (depending on whose definition is used—whether the punitive component is present), but one of the reasons why a high imprisonment rate perennially concerns some citizens is that people with socioeconomic power (business owners, lobbying their politicians) who develop an affinity for the cheapness of prison labor have an inherent conflict of interest that could easily give them incentive to find pretenses for making sure that plenty of working class people end up arrested and convicted, even if on minor charges. This is because prison labor can be less expensive to their businesses than non-prison labor, and it can also depress wages for non-prison labor by competing economically against it. For example, in the US, metal fabrication work that normally commands wages in the USD 12–18 per hour range can sometimes be gotten from prison or work release programs at USD 5–8. The common sociological argument on this topic is a cui bono argument that perhaps socioeconomically dominant people have financial interests in maintaining a status quo in which there are many ways for the working poor to go astray of the law, and not so many for them to work their way out of poverty honestly. This argument has implications for the War on Drugs; the fact that a common part of American ghetto culture is taking a risk at lucrative drug trade work and hoping not to get caught, in an environment of poor employment otherwise, looks suspicious from this view. It shares aspects with debt bondage that was common in the 19th century, as, for example, brothel madams or coal mining companies would find ways to keep their workers [supposedly] in debt to them ("I owe my soul to the company store"), in order to apply coercive pressure to keep young women from leaving the prostitution business or to keep men from leaving their underpaid coal mine work. Although the people of U.S. business management and U.S. jurisprudence today would never agree that such motives drive their choices, the social-science argument is that society must be vigilant to keep subconscious conflict of interest from undermining attempts to improve socioeconomic conditions among the working poor.