Joe Biden's child labor scandal
Joe Biden's opening of the border has led to a lot of unintended consequences.
Who, for example, would have guessed that 19th-century-style, or third-world child labor practices would be making a comeback in the States?
Even the New York Times has noticed:
These workers are part of a new economy of exploitation: Migrant children, who have been coming into the United States without their parents in record numbers, are ending up in some of the most punishing jobs in the country, a New York Times investigation found. This shadow work force extends across industries in every state, flouting child labor laws that have been in place for nearly a century. Twelve-year-old roofers in Florida and Tennessee. Underage slaughterhouse workers in Delaware, Mississippi and North Carolina. Children sawing planks of wood on overnight shifts in South Dakota.
Largely from Central America, the children are driven by economic desperation that was worsened by the pandemic. This labor force has been slowly growing for almost a decade, but it has exploded since 2021, while the systems meant to protect children have broken down.
The Times spoke with more than 100 migrant child workers in 20 states who described jobs that were grinding them into exhaustion, and fears that they had become trapped in circumstances they never could have imagined.
The unaccompanied children have been "processed" by the Border Patrol in the border surge, some 150,000 of them this year, handed off to adults who are supposedly "guardians" but who in all likelihood are human-traffickers. Based on the figures given, it's about 85,000 children now working in sweatshop conditions, probably more, assuming that these children are the ones the Department of Health and Human Services claims it has been unable to contact to check on their welfare. Neil Munro at Breitbart News has more here.
The Times notes that there are many beneficiaries of this regression to 19th-century labor standards:
"They should not be working 12-hour days, but it's happening here," said Valeria Lindsay, a language arts teacher at Homestead Middle School near Miami. For the past three years, she said, almost every eighth grader in her English learner program of about 100 students was also carrying an adult workload.
Migrant child labor benefits both under-the-table operations and global corporations, The Times found. In Los Angeles, children stitch "Made in America" tags into J. Crew shirts. They bake dinner rolls sold at Walmart and Target, process milk used in Ben & Jerry's ice cream and help debone chicken sold at Whole Foods. As recently as the fall, middle-schoolers made Fruit of the Loom socks in Alabama. In Michigan, children make auto parts used by Ford and General Motors.
This is the kind of exploitation we have read about in places like Bangladesh and China. But it's alive and well in the U.S., with a huge upsurge in it dating to Biden's opening of the border.
I recall first writing about it in an editorial for Investor's Business Daily in this piece here — how illegally present minors were dumped into the U.S. instead of sent back to their homelands or placed in a holding facility as the law requires, based on leftist pressure on the Obama administration to let them out as catch and release cases. Children belong with their families, the left claimed, bringing out the individual tear-jerking narratives. Did the kids go back with their families? Nope — they were handed off to "guardians" claiming to be relatives, who promptly put them to work on egg farms in Ohio, working in slave-labor conditions. That's some sleight of hand.
Seems Big Labor and all its Democrat allies have somehow not noticed all those egg farms with their child labor, and how they have multiplied across the industries as described above by the Times, or more likely, they don't care, given their advocacy for open borders. Always looking out for the little guy, they claim.
Big Labor has a lot to answer for in this one, and so do the open borders advocates; the government-bankrolled NGOs who "coach" migrants; the Democrats who advocate for catch and release; the Department of Health and Human Services, which is supposedly watching these kids; the Department of Labor's failure to enforce the law on child labor; the Department of Homeland Security, which processes all asylum claims as valid claims, and never mind that creepy man in the corner claiming to be some unaccompanied kid's "uncle." Above all, Joe Biden does. This is his legacy, the return of slave labor and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle–style sweatshops exploiting immigrant labor.
It's a repulsive record, and Republicans must remind voters that this is what the labor force is morphing into in leaps and bounds under blue government rule — an exploitation system that shuts out American workers, due to the presence of child workers who are shoved into 12-hour-a-day illegal jobs, which they cannot compete with, and the sheer laxity of labor enforcement along with the silence of the politicized labor unions as this phenomenon grows by leaps and bounds with the open border. What an ugly, ugly picture. This is the Dorian Grey effect of Joe Biden's rotted presidency, this new era of child exploitation and the transformation of America into a developing country.
Take a bow, Joe. This is on you.
Image: Library of Congress via Picryl, no known restrictions.