Iowa editor admits it: we want refugee labor in our state

We told you in January that the State of Iowa (one of 10 major refugee contractors) was getting out of the business of bringing refugees to Iowa.  I meant to tell you the other day, but didn’t get around to it, that only Catholic Charities would still be providing Iowa’s meatpacking laborers.

Now comes an editorial from the Globe Gazette in Mason City, Iowa that spells it all out clearly—the refugees are needed for (cheap) labor.  The editor even suggests that if Iowa doesn’t get legal immigrant labor the meatpackers will continue to exploit illegal aliens.  There is another option, offer a decent wage and lots and lots of people will want the jobs.

Let me be clear, I understand that the refugees brought to the US must work to stay off welfare, but then let’s be honest and stop pretending that the US State Department and the volags are motivated only by humanitarian zeal.  There is a lot of  money (and  future voters!) involved!

Fourteen- and 15-year-olds testified about back-breaking, low-paying work for Sholom Rubashkin, the former Agriprocessors CEO charged with 83 misdemeanor state child labor law violations. He already has been convicted of massive financial fraud.

He has yet to be tried for immigration law violations federal authorities filed after the biggest immigration raid in Iowa history May 12, 2008. Federal agents removed 390 undocumented workers from the plant, shutting it down and proving once again that Iowa’s agriculture economy cannot function without immigrant labor.

The work force at every meatpacking plant in the state affirms it. So do the past three Iowa governors, who agree legal immigration is essential for the state’s economic growth, not simply “important” or “a key factor.” While in office, Govs. Terry Branstad, Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver all said Iowa simply cannot grow without legal immigration.

This is the context for the regrettable closing of Iowa’s Bureau of Refugee Services, the state’s No. 1 manager of legal immigration. Since 1975, this bureau brought 28,000 legal immigrants to Iowa and supported another 10,000 who moved to the state after legally entering the country.

The Iowa State refugee office is closing and so is Lutheran Social Services of Iowa.  Only Catholic Charities will continue.

End result: Legal immigration refugee resettlement to Iowa will plummet by more than 85 percent.

Of course, that doesn’t mean immigration to Iowa will end. Hundreds will find their own ways to the state or be recruited for hard-to-fill tech, education and science positions. [Flash! Job seekers in the tech field, education and science should get to Iowa now because they have jobs!]

If history is an indicator, thousands of illegal immigrants will continue to be drawn into the traps set by those like Rubashkin, who federal and state authorities say built a business around exploited illegal immigrants.

Refugee resettlement is an honorable part [honorable for whom?] of Iowa government and faith mission history. It also is a vital part of the state’s economic development.

The Clintons knew all about supplying Iowa big business with cheap immigrant labor as I learned in 2008, here.

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