opinion web
Liberal Opinion General Opinion
Linda Chavez
Linda Chavez
12 Feb 2016
Calling Out Trump

For months, responsible Republicans have been pussyfooting around Donald Trump. No one has been willing to … Read More.

5 Feb 2016
Doing the Honorable Thing in New Hampshire

New Hampshire may well be the end of the campaign trail for more GOP hopefuls, as Iowa was for Rand Paul, … Read More.

29 Jan 2016
President or Divider in Chief?

I'm trying to wrap my mind around what it will mean if Donald Trump wins the Iowa caucuses in a few days and … Read More.

Collateral Damage in the Immigration War


Imagine you've just given a year and a half of your life to serving your country in Iraq and come home to find that your pregnant wife and your toddler daughter have been forced to leave the United States and now the government won't let them back in.

You sit at home waiting, but no one can give you answers when or if they will be allowed to return. You wait five months, long enough for your new baby to be born in a foreign country. But still, no one can give you answers.

That is what Aaron Thorsted of Salt Lake City, Utah, goes through every day. His story aired on KSL-TV there this week.

Why is the government preventing Johana Thorsted and their children from returning to the U.S.? Is she on some terror watch list? Does she have ties to radical organizations? Has she committed some heinous act that makes her a danger to our country?

No. Like thousands of others who have grown up here and know no other life but ours, Johana's parents forced her to come to the U.S. from Guatemala illegally when she was a child. Aaron Thorsted knew her status when he asked her to marry him. He told KSL that Johana worried that he would reject her when he found out. But love doesn't require a "green card," and so Aaron promised her they would fix her problem. When Aaron was sent to Iraq, however, the process slowed down, since immigration officials are wary of Americans who want to sponsor spouses who aren't actually living under the same roof.

Johana returned to Guatemala in what should have been the final step in adjusting her status. The couple expected she would have approval by the time Aaron came home from his tour in Iraq. But they are still waiting. And in December, their second child was born. This complicates matters because the child is not automatically an American citizen and now, too, must get permission to come to the U.S.

The Thorsteds' disrupted lives are the consequence of Congress' failure to resolve the dilemma of what to do with 12.5 million illegal aliens living here.

But their personal drama is not the only consequence. Another story illustrates a different problem, one that has the potential to affect all of us.

In a front-page article, The Wall Street Journal reported this week on what happened after immigration officials raided a Georgia chicken processing plant last fall, hauling off 120 workers, with hundreds of other illegal aliens voluntarily leaving the area. The plant did what many anti-immigration groups say is the solution to becoming dependent on immigrant and illegal alien labor: It raised wages by more than a dollar an hour.

But the company still couldn't attract enough employees, so it also sent buses to pick up American workers from nearby towns and set up dormitories for those who wanted to stay on site. The company nonetheless could only hire a fraction of the workers it needed, and new workers were far from ideal.

The company says that the workforce has turned over three times since the raid. Worse, production has plummeted. The immigrant workers produced an average of 80 pallets of poultry a day per six-person assembly line; the new workers produced only 45 pallets with 15 persons on the line.

The company is still short-handed by 300 people, so it is recruiting Laotian Hmong immigrants from Minnesota and Wisconsin and busing in felons on parole. In any case, with more expensive, less productive workers, the company will have to pass on its costs to consumers — or go out of business.

Magnify this problem by the thousands and you can see the impact on the U.S. economy.

Immigration restrictionists may think it is fine and dandy to keep Aaron Thorsted's wife and children out of the country because Johana's parents broke the law. And they say they're willing to pay more for food so long as it deprives illegal aliens of jobs. But are they willing to pay companies' actual costs, which in the Georgia case more than quadrupled? And would they rather these jobs simply disappear altogether, striking devastating blows to many local economies?

I doubt most Americans think this is a good bargain. But Congress has yet to wake up to the realities.

Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal." To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Linda Chavez
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Suzanne Fields
Suzanne FieldsUpdated 12 Feb 2016
David Harsanyi
David HarsanyiUpdated 12 Feb 2016
Patrick Buchanan
Pat BuchananUpdated 12 Feb 2016

8 Oct 2010 Hispanics' Missed Opportunity

29 Dec 2011 Coulter's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

15 Dec 2011 Tebow Critics Put Their Own Bigotry on Display