But don’t just accuse them of granny-starving. They’ve got plans for the younger generation, too. Loosening child labor laws has always been a dream for them. Instead of happy children playing video games or running around outside committing small acts of arson and sneaking puffs off swiped cigarettes, like we did, Republicans think kids ought to be working for the minimum wage, or, ideally, the minimum special child wage in a perfect Republican economy, in giant dangerous factories, and only smoking cigarettes during designated breaks.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the newly minted governor of Arkansas, is leading the league in getting minors off their asses and toiling on poultry farms. Of course, Sanders herself can’t be accused of hypocrisy on this account, as everybody knows Sanders worked as a trained circus pig every summer of middle school. Other Republican hands aren’t so clean. Iowa legislators are considering a bill that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work certain jobs in meatpacking plants and shield businesses from civil liability if a child laborer is sickened, injured or killed on the job. A bill in Minnesota would permit 16- and 17-year-olds to work construction jobs.
It is dead solid certain that these various Midwestern legislators aren’t envisioning their own kids working in a meatpacking plant, or some other dangerous industry. It’s not like they’re telling their kids at the end of the school year, “Boy, this is the summer you find out what a working crop thresher smells like,” or “There’s nothing a face full of chicken feathers in the morning to make you feel like you’re alive, son.” Hell, no. They’re all enrolling their kids in summer sessions at Country Day Something School, hoping they can raise their grades enough to stumble into Stanford, or at least TCU.
No, child labor is for brown children, particularly brown children whose English isn’t so good and their illegal parents or guardians don’t much like filling out paperwork. Meat-packing executives look out their office windows at these kids playing soccer with a ball made of taped-up rags and think, “Look at those little slackers. We could put them to work, and nobody would care.” So, they give them jobs at meat-packing plants full of sharp saws and knives, and keep them until they’ve lost enough fingers/limbs so they can't be a successful team member any more. Then they let them can drift back to the border and hold up a begging cup with what remains of their digits, so people crossing back into the US can throw their remaining pesos in them and think better of themselves for it.
Republicans seldom cross the border by foot or car—they usually fly in and out of Cancun, a la Ted Cruz. But if they are stuck in the border line, they gaze out of the tightly-rolled up windows of their Land Cruisers and say, “Look at that kid with one arm and one leg! And he’s probably trying to get into our country so he can get welfare!”
He’s already been here, you know. He’s been here.