A November 25 article in The Advocate/ (“Immigration raids causing fear among many in N.O. area”) unsurprisingly presented a bleeding heart justification for amnesty for illegal aliens. What was unexpected was the rewrite of the history of the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. Cited was migration specialist Susan Weishar, of the Jesuit Social Research Institute, saying “We would not be where we are in our recovery effort without them” [referring to illegal alien workers]. She noted that, “…a 2006 study found that more than half of the workforce rebuilding the region after Hurricane Katrina was Latino and that half of those workers were undocumented.”
The fact that so many illegal aliens gained jobs in the recovery effort is correct and not surprising since the federal immigration authorities were publicly ordered to ignore the illegal alien workers. But, the history of that period that Weishar and the news outlet conveniently ignore or suppress is the fact that there were large numbers of native New Orleans residents who lost their jobs in the aftermath of the hurricane. Many of these folks applied for jobs in the reconstruction effort but were shunted aside in favor of illegal alien workers.
Arguably, the recovery effort would have gained strength by giving those jobs to unemployed native workers. Those workers would have needed less public assistance, and they would have spent their earnings locally rather than sending money out to the country to families living abroad.