Ohio Governor and bloviating GOP Establishment sock puppet John Kasich decided to preach a sermon to the American people, using religious tones to arrogantly admonish us for not enthusiastically welcoming the migrant caravan moving in on our southern border from Honduras and Guatemala.
“We’ve got to start putting ourselves in the shoes of other people,” Kasich scolded while declaring that “the Lord doesn’t want” Americans to prevent this invading horde from crashing onto our sovereign soil.”
The remarks came a couple of weeks after Kasich told a Washington, D.C. panel gathering that “if you don’t like immigrants here, send them to Ohio. Send them here, because they’re productive and hard-working.”
Guatemalans made for ideal chicken plant workers because their desperation gave them no options.
Well, Guatemalans have already been sent to Ohio – and not always of their own free will. They were indeed welcomed with open arms by the industrial-scale employers Kasich’s GOP establishment exists to carry water for. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment and discover what life is like for a “hard-working” migrant in John Kasich’s Ohio.
Case Farms operates four chicken processing plants, two in North Carolina and one each in Canton and Winesburg, Ohio. For years, it specialized in cheap labor from Guatemala, whose citizens make up a good portion of that migrant mob currently making its way to America. The New Yorker’s Michael Grabell reports that a human resources manager at the company, Norman Beecher, hit upon the idea of bringing in Guatemalans, who had fled civil war in their home nation, to work in the processing plants in 1989. Grabell’s article includes a quote Beecher gave to labor historian Leon Fink that is included in his 2003 book, The Maya of Morganton. Beecher frankly admits to Fink that the Guatemalans made for ideal chicken plant workers because their desperation gave them no options.
“I didn’t want [Mexicans],” Beecher said. “Mexicans will go back home at Christmastime. You’re going to lose them for six weeks. And in the poultry business you can’t afford that. You just can’t do it. But Guatemalans can’t go back home. They’re here as political refugees. If they go back home, they get shot.”
Grabell then goes on to list a litany of abuses suffered by the Guatemalans. Several were seriously injured on the fast-moving production line due to the many sharp blades and the repetitive motion of the labor, including one man who lost a leg.
Case Farms employees at the North Carolina plants told Grabell that they had to wait so long for bathroom breaks that they wore diapers on the job. And when workers were injured, they say they were told to ignore doctors’ instructions about what they could and couldn’t do. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration “found that Case Farms often made workers wait months to see a doctor, flouted restrictions, and fired injured workers who couldn’t do their job,” Grabell reports.
When employees tried to unionize to improve conditions, the company brought up the fact that many were illegal aliens and fired them. Of course, it conveniently didn’t “discover” this fact while they were so callously exploiting their labor.
The horrors of processing plants are not the only hazard facing migrant workers in John Kasich’s Ohio. The Polaris Project released a report on human trafficking in America in 2016. According to a Columbus Dispatch review, Ohio has become a hotspot. While 277 discovered cases in Ohio for the year involved sex trafficking, 42 were instances of labor trafficking. “The most commonly cited situations in Ohio where this was reported were traveling sales crews, restaurants, health and beauty businesses and agriculture,” the Dispatch reports.
Indeed, as illegal immigration swelled in the U.S., labor trafficking of human beings from abroad naturally rose as well. Here’s one example from Ohio, and it includes more of those Guatemalans John Kasich says he cares so darn much about.
The Associated Press reported in December that a man arrested at the Mexican border was trafficking Guatemalan teens into our interior and making them forcibly work “as virtual slave laborers” on egg farms in central Ohio.
Duran Ramirez is a U.S. citizen who ran a company that provided workers for Trillium Farms, which produces over two billion eggs a year. His victims were allegedly threatened with violence, and one was told his father would be murdered if he caused any problems.
All this happens because a particular brand of employers with no loyalty to the communities they do business in crave illegal labor. Big Ag in particular thirsts for it. They want it because they don’t have to pay a fair wage. They certainly don’t have to offer benefits of any kind. Heck, they don’t even have to concern themselves with the health and basic general welfare of the people they are exploiting.
When preening establishment politicians like John Kasich lecture Americans about their heartlessness and prattle on about “welcoming immigrants,” this is the part of the global siren song they always seem to leave out.