In light of Donald Trump’s comments on how Mexico is not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States, it is time to look at both sides of the issue.
According to the documentary Food Inc., many meat packing companies like IBP, National Beef, Monfort, and many popular fast food companies based in the United States hire illegal immigrants and encourage them not to get Visa’s, green cards, or apply to become citizens because it allows them not to pay them minimum wage, creating cheap labor. These companies also actively recruit people from Mexico to come work for them in the United States. They recruit through newspapers and radio and IBP even went so far as to set up a bus system in Mexico to bring workers to the United States. Of course immigration authorities knew about the issue and for years the government turned a blind eye. With the recent influx in anti-immigration opinions there is a push for the prevention of illegal immigration across United States borders to the south. Instead of immigration authorities holding companies who hire illegal immigrants responsible, some companies strike a deal with immigration authorities so they do not get in trouble. In the case of Smithfield meat packing, they give ICE fifteen illegal immigrants a day to detain and deport as to not affect the production line. There are no massive raids, just fifteen workers a day. The workers being picked up have spent ten to fifteen years in the country before being arrested. While Smithfield declined to be interviewed for the film, there is very clear footage in the documentary that shows this happening actively.
According to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, workplace enforcement is one of its main priorities. The last raid on Smithfield happened in 2009, according to the New York Times. Food Inc. came out in 2010 and Smithfield is definitely not the only company that hires illegal workers that ICE turns a blind eye to.
As someone who has been heavily involved in the Equestrian world for thirteen years now, I can tell you that many facilities who practice English riding hire illegal immigrants to work at their farms and care for the horses. They are paid in cash and offered a place to stay. I know immigrants who were deported multiple times due to infractions such as a speeding ticket or a car accident, but never have I heard of an ICE raid on an English riding facility. This is a known thing, not entirely hidden in the shadows. As someone who has been riding for thirteen years, I have no idea how ICE has not caught on and that the entire English riding world is not punished for hiring illegal immigrants. However, the industry does draw a lot of money from some of the richest people in our country; Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer Gates rides, as does Michael Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina Bloomberg, Steve Jobs’ daughter Eve Jobs, Bruce Springsteen’s daughter Jessica Springsteen, Kendall Jenner, Noah Cyrus, and Mary-Kate Olsen. There is a reason they called horse racing “the sport of kings” and that phrase can definitely be applied to English equestrians of the United States.
An article in Chronicle of the Horse written under the Bush presidency highlights the issue of immigrants who do come in legally and then because, over time, immigration laws become stricter, immigrants are afraid to go home for fear they will not be able to come back for months or many years. Then they overstay their welcome, becoming illegal and making it harder for barns to operate legally. There is also the issue of determining the worth of a groom since most people are under the impression that all grooms do is muck stalls. It is far more complex and intimate than that. The best grooms in the industry are often turned to for advice by trainers and often they work closely together to keep the horses healthy, happy, and working. While this article was written in 2007, it is still relevant today because with the recent influx of security on the Mexican-American border, how many immigrants who were once legal are going to become illegal because they cannot go home?
Donald Trump is good friends with Mark Bellissimo, a man known in the English riding world as the “founder, managing partner, and largest shareholder of a series of equestrian related entities, ” according to Chronicle of the Horse, an online magazine devoted to all things Equestrian related. Trump even hosts his own horse show on a property of his called The Trump Invitational. He does know about at least some of the workings of the equestrian industry and it would be hard to believe he does not know about the hiring of illegal immigrants in this industry.
There are positives and negatives to hiring illegal immigrants for our country. The negatives consist of identity theft and taking jobs away from Americans without high school diplomas, according to George Borjas, described by Business Weekly and the Wall Street Journal as “America’s leading immigration economist”, in an article on the website for the Center for Immigration Studies. Often illegal immigrants will steal social security numbers of Americans to be able to get a job, according to Ronald W. Mortensen, a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer and former Society for Human Resource Management senior executive, in an article also for the Center for Immigration Studies. These are desperate people, people who may not know all of the options open to them to come into the United States legally.
Yet, sometimes, it is not so easy to get a Visa or green card. Even getting a work card is limited to individuals with a certain level of education, according to the American Immigration Council.
When Trump talks about how the Mexican government it is not doing enough to stop illegal immigration into the United States, he ignores the problems that exist in his own country. Since he is known throughout the country to be a sympathizer to large corporations and businesses, it is hard to believe that he will change his tune any time soon. He also plans to send the National Guard to the border, further turning attention away from America and into Mexico. While this is clearly a hardline policy on illegal immigration, Trump focuses his attention on the wrong places. He needs to force ICE to crack down on companies and not offer them a deal for the sake of economic interest. It is as if Trump only has a small picture in front of him while he either ignores or needs to look at a bigger one. This picture will depict how his own country is involved in the illegal immigration process. However, this is not just a symptom of Trump but of anyone who has talked of cracking down on the border while ignoring countries who do the hiring. It is as if they say, “when they come, it is impossible not to hire them so we should punish them for coming.” If Donald Trump does not change the tune and start to focus on the problems that exist in his own country and focus on the companies who hire illegal immigrants, illegal immigration over the Mexican border is never going to stop.