Immigration issues have historic implications
December 29, 2005
The current series on immigration reminds me of some recent history: the Davis Bacon Act 1931.Bacon, a former banker, explained the need for the law when he detailed for his colleagues during debate on the bill how a construction firm from Alabama transported thousands of unskilled workers to a public project in New York. Workers were herded onto this job, housed in shacks and paid a very low wage. Bacon believed the federal government should not engage in construction work in any state and undermine the labor conditions and the labor wages paid in that state.Laborers of the period, because so many were recent immigrants, because they performed “unskilled” work, and because they were easily replaced, were particularly vulnerable to these practices. Recognizing the direct impact of the Act of protecting Laborers, the General Executive Board of the Laborers International Union voted to endorse it and the Davis-Bacon Act was passed in 1931.Today we have a similar situation. Moreover, some of our workers are here illegally. Illegal immigration is like any other illegal enterprise: a way for unscrupulous people to exploit an advantage over law-abiding citizens. Hence, both employers and employees can operate outside established laws for their own mutual benefit. Consider: Unenforced laws tend to render all laws irrelevant. Is this what we want?E-mail Daily Mail to email@example.com.