The fact that people in the past were arrested and leased to private companies coerced to forced labor without pay happened in the past and is still happening today is inexcusable. Placing immigrants in detention facilities and profiting from their labor while paying them peanuts should be a thing of the past. The US federal government in partnership with private companies like GEO that run detention facilities diminish the value of life. If the government is true to its values, the Immigration and Customs Department should deport illegal immigrants rather than profit from them. People should be treated equally no matter their financial background. Most of the immigrants in the US escape the harsh economic conditions in their home countries because capitalism has continued to promote the gap between the rich and the power. In light of this, federal contractors that run detention facilities should at least pay the immigrants the minimum wage if and only if the federal government sees that a detention facility is the only way to deal with the swarm of immigrants sneaking into the US borders. Therefore, immigrants should not be treated as slaves because of their illegal status. The essay will analyze the historical aspect of how the capitalists exploited and enslaved people for financial returns to understand what is happening now. In doing so, the paper will explore the relationship between labor and capitalism.
In the past centuries during the discovery of America's by Christopher Columbus, the capitalist ecology promoted the aspect of "cheap things." When the Spaniards arrived in the new world and found indigenous people who were ignorant about Christianity, they asked for permission from the Pope so that they could teach them about Christ. In the process, the Pope granted them the power to use slavery and punishment against pagans in a way that the Portuguese and Spaniards would earn their silver and gold. As a result, Columbus and his noted the potential of the new land in terms of the richness of agricultural products. Therefore, together with his men and the Spanish soldiers, they enslaved the Indians, forced them into hard labor for little or no pay. Transporting agricultural products from the Americas to Europe was a profitable venture. Furthermore, in his third voyage, Columbus had realized that the capitalist agricultural ecology has transformed the world. The availability of cheap food led to the decrease in the minimum wage. In other words, with cheap labor, the prices for food would be low to boost more sales and attract hefty profits. Through Columbus, the new land was acquired via blood, guns, slavery, and capitalist gains. Moreover, labor was gendered and sexuality was used to even oppress women more for meager wages. With this note, since the fourteenth century, it is evident that the labor was tied to capitalism. Similarly, during the period after the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery, freed slaves were captured for minor offenses and forced to work for meager wages.
In the article "When Migrants Are Treated Like Slaves" written by Dr. Jacqueline Stevens, private firms like GEO and CCA run a bed capacity of around 34,000 beds and they are paid by the federal government $125 per bed/head a day. It implies that the federal government pays approximately $2.2 million dollars a day for only 34000 beds a day. There are thousands of detained immigrants. In spite of reaping millions from federal contracts, these firms underpay the detained immigrants for a small proportion of the minimum wage. In some instances, immigrants are paid a $1 a day. The scenario illustrates one of the greatest exploitation of human beings in a civilized state since the end of slavery in the 19th century. Immigrants are arrested for the wrong reasons because they are in pursuit of better wages to improve their families' standards of living. However, due to the greed promoted by capitalist societies, private detention companies profit from the coerced labor from immigrants. They do all the different types of jobs from cleaning, cooking, to technical jobs like repairs. Some have even lost their lives while working in detention facilities. It is a sad a fair that the US has regulations in place that support forced labor for people in detention camps. According, to Dr. Stevens, 12 senators own detention facilities and they support the practice of treating immigrants as slaves.
In conclusion, it is evident that labor is tied to capitalism. Since the discovery of the Americas, Columbus and his voyage exploited the Indians by enslaving them in hard labor for profits. The capitalist ecology derived from history explains the concept of cheap things including cheap life. The colonialists could retrieve raw materials for industries from cheap labor and derive handsome profits in returns. Likewise, the detention of immigrants from profits is a repeat of the sad history, whose vices should be forgotten and abolished. The enslavement practices should not exist in the 21st century. If the US government feels like immigrants are a burden to the American society, why then exploit them for profits? It means that they can be valuable and contribute to the economic growth of the country. As a result, the government should outlaw the treatment of immigrants like slaves. Instead of paying private contractors to detain immigrants, the federal government should spend that money for deportation purposes. It is the humane thing to do, rather than be blinded by capitalistic greed that benefits a chosen few.
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