Economic Destruction in Alabama, 11/20-11/27

28 Nov

Mercedes Benz with the doors out

In what must have been an embarrassment, Alabama state lawmakers recently discovered that a European businessman had been caught up in the HB56 immigration dragnet. A manager with Mercedes Benz, was pulled over and arrested when he failed to produce documents authorizing his presence in the state. The charges were dropped when the AL police realized that the manager had been authorized to do business in the state. No word, however, on the other immigrants who have also been arrested for not carrying documents, but who pick fruits and vegetables instead of selling luxury vehicles. Apparently Alabama values its high-end SUVs more than nutritious food.
The manager from Mercedes Benz’s arrest serves to illustrate how the 1% are using the economic crisis to scapegoat immigrants. The Mercedes Benz plant came to Alabama in the 1990’s, almost assuredly with generous tax write offs. The plant provides jobs for some in Alabama while providing minimal revenue for the state. Alabama is left praising the generous Mercedes Benz corporation for locating their jobs to the state, glazing over the fact that the overall effect is fewer tax dollars for the people of the United States. Meanwhile, immigrants who come to the state for the labor-intensive jobs and meager wages are blamed for stealing jobs and ruining the economy.
The Occupy movement has been raising the issue of inequality in major cities across the country. The richest 1% have made incredible economic gains in the past 30 years, while the wages for the rest of 99% have remained stagnant. The difference between the haves and the have-nots is the reason schools and health programs are being defunded.
Fortunately, there are solutions. For example, a newspaper in St.Louis has invited Mercedes Benz to relocate to Missouri. The newspapers editorial recommended that the German company move to Missouri because its friendlier policies for  immigrants. Others, like Occupy SF and a collective of domestic workers (La Colectiva) and day Laborers have taken to the streets to march for immigrants’ rights. People are coming together to fight the foreclosures, investment in the detention system, and the exploitation of immigrant labor that are prime examples of how the 1% are profiting of immigrant suffering. People are standing up to say that their wellbeing is just as important as a manager for Mercedes Benz.

In the news:
New Yorker Cover-- Pilgrims crossing the borderImmigration featured on NEW YORKER cover, HUFFPO, 11.23.11
Pilgrims running across a militarized border are featured on the cover of this weeks New Yorker. The illustrator, a German immigrant, had this to say: “The debate should be about how can a country benefit from immigration. America depends on immigration. The discussion will be more valuable if it is focused on benefits.”
Black labor leader surpised by impact of HB56, COLORLINES, 11.23.11
A delegation of black labor leaders recently traveled to Alabama to see the profound impact of HB56 the state’s anti-immigrant law. Many were surprised with the severity of the law that has affected schools, work, employment, and even access to water and electricity.
Newt Gingrich tests the waters with statement on immigration, HUFFPO, 11.26.11
In a recent debate for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt dares to make a statement in favor of some undocumented immigrants. In Newt’s opinion, there should be slight compassion afforded to immigrants who have been in the country for over 25 years and go to church.

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One Response to “Economic Destruction in Alabama, 11/20-11/27”

  1. craig reinarman December 28, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    Excellent site. Keep up the good work.

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