These may sound like two topics which have very little in common, but only a cursory examination should inform us that the ongoing sexual harassment and sexual assault conflagration is closely tied to and in some ways driven by illegal immigration. This is a piece of the puzzle I was examining over the weekend when I asked if women in lower-wage jobs without all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood or the Media were experiencing the same rates of problems in this area. The answer seems to be situational, but in one specific area it’s probably worse than what too many women are facing when they apply for a job at a movie studio.
Katie Johnston at the Boston Globe has a disturbing bit of reporting this week which focuses on the plight of female illegal aliens working in the northeast. (Though I’m sure this is sadly common all across the country.) She details the experiences of a number of illegal aliens who report having been not only harassed and assaulted, but actually raped by employers and coworkers. Their options for reporting their assailants are even more limited than most victims because the perpetrators not only control their careers but can hold the threat of deportation over their heads.
The flood of sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks has come largely from women in white-collar professions, but the problem is thought to be much more prevalent, and hidden, among low-wage workers. These women can’t afford to lose their jobs. Often they don’t speak English and don’t know the procedure for reporting abuse.
Undocumented immigrants fear that if they confront their harassers, they will report the workers to immigration authorities. Under the Trump administration, advocates say, these workers have become even more fearful of speaking up.
And when they do, even more obstacles await.
The other challenges facing these women are daunting. Lawyers don’t want to take them on as clients because they generally have little or no money to pay them up front and they will likely never get paid if their client is shipped out of the country. Living in the shadows of society, the victims also may be less familiar with their legal options to begin with, and poor or missing English language skills compound the problem further.
So what to do about it? Well, even the most fervent immigration hawks among us don’t want to see this sort of abuse taking place so more rigorous investigations of these sorts of complaints are in order. But let’s keep in mind why this particular slice of the sexual assault pie is plaguing us in the first place. These women wouldn’t be in such a perilous predicament if we didn’t still have so many American employers knowingly hiring illegal aliens without fear of serious reprisal.
Illegal immigration isn’t just a threat to national security and a persistent, open wound in the rule of law. It’s also feeding a pipeline of potential victims into the waiting arms of serial sexual abusers. And if you’re the type of person with so little respect for our nation’s laws that you would regularly hire illegals, is it such a stretch of the imagination to think that you’d be willing to turn some of them into your personal sex slaves as a bonus?
We need additional resources applied to the illegal immigration problem and it’s a subject which both parties would be able to agree to in any sane version of reality. But it’s not just for the usual reasons we cite when railing against open borders and the flood of illegal aliens. It’s becoming increasingly clear that our failure to keep women in particular from jumping the border is setting them up for a horrible outcome, quite the opposite of what they were undoubtedly hoping for when they made the decision to come here. Immigrants who enter the country legally and work toward citizenship can avail themselves of the full spectrum of law enforcement protection. Illegal aliens can’t. You’re not doing them any favors by encouraging them to settle or stay here.