Reflections on Recent News

Photo by Natalie Dupin on

         On Possible Settlements of About $450,000 per Immigrant (WSJ 11/1/2021)

They are now being proposed on behalf of immigrant families alleging trauma when parents and children were separated after they crossed the border – illegally – in 2018.

The separations occurred as part of the zero tolerance enforcement policy put in place in 2018 by the Trump administration to deal with illegal immigration from Mexico.

Talk of settlements is in progress, reportedly to avoid the higher costs of going to trial.

Approximately 940 claims have been filed so far by families affected with no certainty as to how many more will do so. The total cost to the government may reach $ 1 billion.

Clearly, it was wrong and inhumane for the Trump administration to act as they did.

But should monetary awards be granted to such families, absent death or other cruel physical damage? No.

These families crossed illegally. They may have been desperate to cross, in defiance of the law, given untenable circumstances at home, and so they crossed, braving the risks involved in their search for freedom and the opportunity to remake their lives.

Separation of the members of the family was one such risk.

To now have a settlement in their favor is not fair to other Americans who deal daily with labor and housing problems, limited education, reduced access to health care, crime or otherwise unsafe neighborhoods.

In the spirit of justice, these immigrants who crossed illegally and were so mistreated, could be granted a path to permanent resident status. But not given monetary rewards.

Let the new immigrants deal with the same problems lower income Americans have to face every day. Would lower income Americans like to get an award the size of the proposed settlements? Yes, why not? What about our suffering, they would argue.

Mr Biden should not allow these absurd monetary settlements to be granted. There must be a way to block them.

Many Americans would be offended that their own priorities take second place to those of illegally crossing immigrants.

Republican legislators are loudly protesting this idea. It is clear that they see the political potential of playing this up.

It would be very harmful politically for democrats to go along with the proposed settlements.

Control of the House of representatives has been in jeopardy. Why add vulnerability? Never mind the Senate which is evenly split. An issue like this may lead the swing vote to give both houses to Republicans in next year’s elections.

Biden has to stop this. This won’t go away and will badly hurt the agenda he seeks to push through to assist millions of Americans who have been waiting for years for fairer policies to improve their lives.  

With the proposed settlements, the new immigrants would go right to the front of the line.

Mr Biden and his administration need to keep the big picture in mind.

                     A Shortage of Butchers in Britain

                      (The Economist – Oct 23rd-29th – Britain Section)

Post Brexit, the National Pig Association estimates there are approx 125 to 150 thousand pigs waiting to be turned into pork. To prevent them from going to waste, the government recently authorized 800 new visas for butchers, although more than 10,000 may be needed.

But there are language requirements (post Brexit) that are raising obstacles.

One representative of the British Meat Producers Association had this to say about such requirement for butchers: ‘they wanted to work with their hands so probably weren’t top of their class.’ Then added, “our HR (Human Resources) people aren’t sure they’d pass the test in their own language.’

Dear sir, must you stick your head up in the clouds so high, just as you need others?

Here are your fellow citizens eagerly asking for the additional butchers (to be drawn mostly from countries in the European Union) and you are putting them down.

All the years spent in the trade and still it got away from you – confronting the old prejudice that manual skills are at odds with intelligence.  

You are not alone, for the people in HR appear to think alike.

But, of course, we all stumble here and there.

Just come down to earth and maybe you won’t make the same mistake again.

Manual skills are a precious gift. I wish I had them.

As way of atonement, do give thanks to these expert cutters who are providing the pork that makes you a living.

And as you do, ask yourself, could I do the job?

                                             Oscar Valdes.

1 comment

  1. I believe the majority of families who were separated at the border were from Guatemala and Honduras, and are seeking asylum in the U.S.


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