retail news in context, analysis with attitude

On Friday, we took note of an Arizona Republic report that six Pro’s Ranch Market stores in the Phoenix area had to let go some 300 employees this week after they were found by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be working illegally in the US. According to the story, the employees are able to appeal the decision but cannot work during the process. A Pro’s Ranch Market spokesperson said that the former employees apparently used forged documents to get their jobs, and that the company had complied with all laws and requirements. However, the Republic notes that the retailer could face fines in the case.

My comment:

Tough times for Pro’s Ranch Markets, which now has to replace 300 employees and deal with the perception that it was giving American jobs to illegal workers in a state where immigration is, to say the least, a hot button issue.

It is important, of course, that the federal government enforces immigration laws. I am more troubled by the state legislation now on the Arizona governor’s desk that would require local law enforcement officials to determine whether people are legal or illegal based on suspicions; I’ve seen people on TV saying that cops are perfectly capable of deciding whether to ask for documentation based on how a person looks, whether it is how they comb their hair, or what kinds of shoes they are wearing. (Really?)

This strikes me as a disaster waiting to happen. It won’t be long before the wrong person gets arrested, and a lawsuit gets filed against the police, and issues of racism and abuse bring a simmering issue to a full boil. And it won’t be pretty.

One MNB user responded:

I commend Pro’s for making the very tough decision to release 300 undocumented workers. Not trying to hide the issue but bringing it out front and dealing with it according to the law is a demonstration of their integrity. The fact that they tried to help those workers with immigration information and a gift card demonstrates just how much they care about their employees regardless of their immigration status.

Regarding the pending legislation regarding illegal aliens in Arizona, the law does not “require” but “allows” police to ask for proof of citizenship. Certainly this discretion has the potential to be abused and that will have to be managed carefully. The other side of the coin is represented here in California where police are not even allowed to ask the question.

You are correct that the primary responsibility for this issue is the federal government’s. Until we effectively enforce the federal laws, we will have states and municipalities attempting to interpret for themselves how to best handle the situation.

From another MNB user:

Then it is time for the Federal Government to step up to the plate and enforce our laws. If the federal government were doing there job the states would not have to. It is just shows the frustration that the states and its legal citizens are having with our government. Filling the 300 jobs that are now open with unemployed legal members of our society will help everyone.

The bottom line is that it is time to get the problem fixed.

Still another MNB user offered:

Kevin,  I've run a Military Commissary, been a retail operator and manager at all levels and my last stint was a Police Officer (retired but still auxiliary).  I have dealt with the illegal immigrant worker both as a consumer and as a police officer.  Most are hard working and just trying to support their families back home.  About 1/3 or so are here to rob the others and are deeply involved in gangs, drugs and other crimes.  We (the local police) have had our hands tied by the Federal Government because all the of the last three Presidents wanted the illegals here and Congress followed the program. 

Three years ago, when the economy was booming we couldn't afford to deport 1/2 of them.  There wouldn't be enough "legals" to take all the jobs, but now we have a different story.  High unemployment and we still couldn't fill half  the jobs as many "legals" wouldn't do them.  Better to collect than work "those"  jobs.   The present administration and majority in Congress still won't act to remove them and want eventually to offer amnesty and bring them into the fold.  What ever happened to our legal process of immigration?  We were a nation of Laws.  No so anymore as long as we allow the illegal immigrants to remain and allow about 1/3 to leech off the rest of us.  So my hats off to Arizona and any other state that enforces the law.  Remember that they are killing Americans who live along the border and get in there way when they run the drugs and the workers across the border.  Remember almost anyone can enter our country without being noticed.  It would be nice to be able to move freely around the world but we do have people who do not like our country...

And, from yet another MNB user:

If the federal government would have enforced the illegal immigration laws from the start these issues would not  have to be addressed by the State governments.  The feds have allowed illegal’s to come into the US unabated for years resulting in tremendous financial drains for the country, states and cities which have taken services away from the tax paying citizens.  Time to correct the mistakes and send these illegal’s back and put our own citizens to work in these jobs.  So you step on a few toes during the process, the end point is they entered our country illegally and no matter what they have done in this country are still illegal and have violated our laws.  Show me any other country in the world that would put up with what we have going on in this country with illegal’s.  Our judicial system still goes after old cases where laws have been violated so what is the difference between going after our own citizens or illegal’s?  They used forged documents which are hard to detect so Pro Ranch should not be prosecuted but commended for firing them.

The illegal’s knew they were using forged/illegal documents since they had to pay someone for them so I don’t feel sorry for them and neither should anyone else.  Send them all back no matter what country they are originally from.  From what was on TV several years ago there may be up to 1 million illegal Irish in New York so they should go back as well. Illegals are illegals.

Another MNB user wrote:

I agree with you that the proposed Arizona law is a disaster waiting to happen.  It appears to me that the legislation results from frustration that they are alone in dealing with immigration.  And it appears they are right.  The “Feds” swoop in to identify 300 illegal immigrants.  Three hundred!  Where was this resource at hiring time?   I realize that I most likely don’t have all the facts here.  However, I do believe a lack of results and decisions as a country is causing the attempt at laws.

Another MNB user wrote:

Regarding crack down in Arizona on profiling of illegal immigrants, let’s next train cops to detect the following:

• People that look Muslin that are likely terrorists.
• White people that look like Timothy McVeigh that appear to be looking for a building to blow up.
• Italians that look like they are probably Mafioso.
• Irish people that don’t look Catholic.
• Suspicious people that attend ethnic food fairs.
• Independents that can’t choose a political party.
• A Democrat in South Carolina.

May I see your papers, please?

I’m not sure that anyone would argue that the federal government has done a good job of dealing with immigration issues. But I’m also reasonable sure that the Arizona response does not make sense - just as any local response to a national issue is bound to create problems. With any luck, the federal government will be prompted by the Arizona bill to act on immigration reform...though the problem is that the responses by the two parties will no doubt be calibrated to appeal to their different political constituencies rather than craft a reasoned, reasonable solution.

I remain troubled by the idea that individual police officers in Arizona are now empowered to stop people and ask for proof of citizenship. Last time I was in Arizona, I didn’t carry any with me. I know someone who has a swarthy complexion who is going there this week...and I’m betting that he won’t have proof of citizenship with him.

“Do you have your papers?” is a question that they asked in a different time, in a different place. Today it is an effort in Arizona to identify Mexicans who have illegally crossed the border, but I am a firm believer in the slippery slope. I fear we’re on one now.
KC's View: