In, “is this real life” news, Politico posted an article titled “What if You Could Get Your Own Immigrant” yesterday, (February 13). Now retitled “Sponsor An Immigrant Yourself,” the article proposes that United States citizens should help the nation sort the immigration debate by applying to sponsor migrants, letting them stay in their basements and hiring them to work in home-based businesses for $5 an hour.
From the article:
Here’s how the program would work: Imagine a woman named Mary Turner, who lives in Wheeling, West Virginia. She was recently laid off from a chicken-processing plant and makes ends meet by walking and taking care of her neighbors’ pets. Mary could expand her little business by hiring some workers, but no one in the area would accept a wage she can afford. Mary goes online—to a new kind of international gig economy website, a Fiverr for immigrants—and applies to sponsor a migrant. She enters information about what she needs: someone with rudimentary English skills, no criminal record and an affection for animals. She offers a room in her basement, meals and $5 an hour. (Sponsors under this program would be exempt from paying minimum wage.) The website offers Mary some matches—people living in foreign countries who would like to spend some time in the United States and earn some money. After some back and forth, Mary interviews a woman named Sofia who lives in Paraguay.
The article drew considerable backlash online, as many accused the publication and writers Eric Posner and Glen Weyl of essentially advocating for slavery or indentured servitude as a way for immigrants with undocumented status to legally work in the United States. Per the Migration Policy Institute, in 2016, 54 percent of immigrants living in the United States identified as people of color.
Oh, not a big deal, just Politico wanting to bring back slavery. pic.twitter.com/DhkzuAvhG5— Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) February 13, 2018
Me at 5pm: Wow the only take that could make today worse is “bring back slavery”— bringing my baby to a theater near you (@fivefifths) February 14, 2018
Me at 6pm: Oh no
.@politico ummmm. So you’re endorsing indentured servitude of Brown people for white people now? What the everliving fuck with your white supremacy? Economic benefits of slavery your next article? https://t.co/rL9hk5Cp4L— Unwrittenhistory (@unwrittenhistry) February 14, 2018
I don’t have a PhD in economics from @Princeton, but I’m not sure that increased exposure to migrants would reduce resistance because… well, much of the resistance to immigrant workers is because racism, which doesn’t cotton to logic much. pic.twitter.com/GYjY6P3J4U— Wendi C. Thomas (@wendi_c_thomas) February 14, 2018
Mary is going to build low-paid labor into her business model because she’s a good American!— Wendi C. Thomas (@wendi_c_thomas) February 14, 2018
And because she’s a Christian, she’s going to let her low-paid labor live in her basement, like a house n*gger, circa 1854!
Mary’s a gem. pic.twitter.com/NkuckClCpy
Two-thousand and eighteen, folks.