American employers are systematically exploiting the 120,000 low-skilled guest workers they hire each year, from stealing passports and Social Security cards to consistently underpaying them. “I felt like an animal without claws—defenseless. It is the same as slavery,” says one worker, in a report published today by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
President Bush has proposed expanding the guestworker program, which Bob Herbert takes to task in today's Times. “To expand these programs without looking closely at the gruesome abuses already taking place would be both tragic and ridiculous,” Herbert writes.