Halliburton seems to have fallen into more trouble:
Agents detained about 100 illegal immigrants working for a Halliburton subcontractor hired to do Hurricane Katrina recovery work, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office said Thursday.
The workers were involved in setting up a tent city at a Navy base outside New Orleans when they were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Wednesday, Landrieu's office said.
Aside from the irony that the political leaders shoveling money to Halliburton don't show a lot of love for undocumented residents, this isn't an unusual case.
Ever since the gold rush of Katrina contracts -- and the suspension of laws guaranteeing the usual pay rates for rebuilding work -- the Gulf Coast has become an "immigration magnet," escalating tension between some locals (both black and white) and immigrant newcomers. Not helping matters have been reports of the Red Cross kicking out "Hispanic-looking" people at shelters, and Mayor Ray Nagin telling a crowd, "How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?"
How about a little context:
Many Hondurans came to the New Orleans area after Hurricane Mitch tore through their homeland in 1998, devastating the already poverty-stricken country. Few funds were available for aid and rebuilding, and corrupt officials siphoned off much of the foreign financial help. Many parts of the capitol Tegucigalpa still stand in ruins seven years later.
Hurricane Katrina was an all-too-familiar experience for those who were already refugees. About 150,000 Hondurans were among an estimated 300,000 immigrants living in the areas hit by the storm. And in a country far wealthier than their homeland, many found their access to aid and support was not much different.
And of course, a leading reason Honduras was so ill-equipped to handle Hurricane Mitch was because of a devastating U.S.-backed war and dictatorship in the country, including death squads -- a 1994 human rights report still couldn't find 179 "disappeared" citizens -- aggressively promoted by President Bush's choice for U.N. embassador and embassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.
So really, we've come full circle.