The War at Home Against Immigrants in the Workplace

Update: Robyn Blumer in the St. Petersberg Times has more on how the meatpacking plant abused the workers.

A New York Times editorial today takes on the meatpacking plant raids in Postville Iowa. It quotes from the essay of a professor and court interpreter at the subsequent criminal proceedings:

Dr. Camayd-Freixas’s essay describes “the saddest procession I have ever witnessed, which the public would never see” — because cameras were forbidden.

“Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”


Worse than the intentional overcharging of serious offenses, was this:

What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.

What happened:

He wrote that they had waived their rights in hopes of being quickly deported, “since they had families to support back home.” He said that they did not understand the charges they faced, adding, “and, frankly, neither could I.”

As the Times points out:

No one is denying that the workers were on the wrong side of the law. But there is a profound difference between stealing people’s identities to rob them of money and property, and using false papers to merely get a job. It is a distinction that the Bush administration, goaded by immigration extremists, has willfully ignored. Deporting unauthorized workers is one thing; sending desperate breadwinners to prison, and their families deeper into poverty, is another.

This has been happening all over the country. There are 3 million children in this country with at least one parent who is present in the U.S. without proper documentation. It's time to legalize our undocumented workers and end these shameful raids.

As I wrote in this 2006 op-ed after similar raids:

We do need immigration reform. But what we need is a non-punitive immigration reform bill, one that is humane and provides equality, dignity and a clear path to citizenship.

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    Immigration (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by bocajeff on Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 11:25:53 PM EST
    The problem will remain with immigration reform unless it is an open border: What to do with individuals and companies who break the law?

    I feel sort of sorry for these individuals. After all, they broke the law, took jobs away from law abiding (presumably citizens or people with the right to be there) workers, and usually send part of their income out of the country not to be spent in the local economy.

    BTW, both my parents were immigrants so I'm first generation.

    These people should be deported and not charged with anything greater - but this is not a victimless crime...

    employers are the problem (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:46:19 AM EST
    Enforcement begins with the hiring process, and many employers, especially contractors, don't operate in the system, but pay under the table.

    And (none / 0) (#102)
    by tek on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:05:20 PM EST
    why do Democrats insist on calling these people "immigrants?"  They aren't immigrants, they are illegal aliens.  No American has any gripe against LEGAL immigrants.  People object to illegals who break our law and then demand that we change our culture to their culture so they will feel comfortable.

    My British friend who recently became a U. S. citizen paid a lawyer $10,000.00 dollars to file the legal papers, in addition to all the government fees.  Mexicans run across the border and then demand citizenship because they were able to sneak in here.

    But if you like encouraging crime....


    Encouraging crime? (none / 0) (#108)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:30:54 PM EST
    I call it encouraging the freedom of people to move around the planet and find the best life they can for themselves, whatever border it may fall within.

    Oy Vey! (none / 0) (#115)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:16:09 PM EST
    The "culture" question.  Ay Dios Mio!  You say:

    People object to illegals who break our law and then demand that we change our culture to their culture so they will feel comfortable.

    "American" culture has a large Latino component.  Latinos were living and working in many of the Western States before English speaking people.  That is especially true in New Mexico and California...

    And, no, "they" do not demand anyone here change their "culture"....They try to fit in as best they can; the children of undocumented workers learn English quite well for the most part....

    Your comment tells me you do not like Latinos very much.  Too bad, they would probably like you, if you gave them the chance...


    i read the editorial. (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 11:58:02 PM EST
    much as i sympathize with those people, both the times and the good dr. are wrong, on multiple counts.

    But there is a profound difference between stealing people's identities to rob them of money and property, and using false papers to merely get a job.

    really? how so? isn't using false papers to get a job stealing money? why yes, i believe it is.

    define "overcharging". if the evidence supports the charges, they're valid. that you, or someone else doesn't like them is, well, irrelevant. should they have been charged? that's an issue for discussion, and a matter of opinion. by law, the charges are legitimate.

    however, that legitimacy doesn't, by definition, confer the status of cost effectiveness on them. further, given the facts and circumstances, i suspect if anyone goes to the mat for these people, a higher court would throw out most of the coerced guilty pleas. my guess is that the AG is betting no one will.

    the big problem is that these people are illiterate and uneducated in their own country, putting them in that position to begin with is an invitation to abuse.

    most were not guilty of the crime (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by sassysenora on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:52:06 AM EST
    as the article by Dr. Camayd-Freixas said. Knowledge and intent are elements of the crime and many didn't even know what a Social Security number was, much less have an intent to use it to defraud anyone.

    i disagree with your assertion that "using false papers to get a job is stealing money". i don't see how this meets many of the elements of theft. e.g., you need to have a specific, identifiable victim. you need mens rea. (if you're not talking about theft, what do you mean by "stealing"?)

    i think the outrage was not just directed at the innocence of many of the detainees. it was that they did not understand the process or their choices. many were rushed into pleas without adequate understanding of or adequate legal advice about the immigration consequences. the prosecutors would not accept any changes in the pleas agreement (i.e., no case-by-case exceptions to the Plea Agreement that came from the DC office of the Justice Dept. were allowed regardless of the circumstances or what the individual prosecutor wanted to do).

    the detainees were not treated as individuals, as humans worthy of respect (which is one of the primary reasons for and principles underlying our system of laws). they were treated like animals at a meat-processing plant. it was also directed at the unfair choices imposed  upon them by the criminal justice system: their punishment was almost certainly going to be more severe if they fought the charges than if they pleaded guilty to them, even if they were innocent. this, too, goes against the principles that underly our criminal justice system.


    My social security number was used by illegal (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:19:00 AM EST
    immigrants resulting in my losing my state risk pool health insurance because I was accused of fraud for not declaring that I was employed.

    I'm fighting an ongoing breast cancer battle and you cannot imagine the trauma that act by these illegal immigrants caused me! My treatment was literally stopped because the state risk pool refused to pay, but thank God, I was in a financial position to be able to afford to pay for it out of my own pocket.

    It took over 2 months to prove to my state that my identity was stolen and to get my health insurance re-instated, therefore, had my financial situation been different, it would have put my life at great risk maybe even condemned me to death.

    Since then I have not an iota of sympathy for any illegal immigrant who steal or use someone else's social security number! There are grave consequences for everybody whose social security number is used by someone here illegally! They should be prosecuted, deported and never allowed to immigrate back!


    Sorry for your troubles.... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:57:58 AM EST
    If it was me I'd be more pissed at the state for dropping me based on an accusation of fraud...a better state policy would be to wait until any fraud allegations are proven before you drop people from the state insurance rolls.  How could they drop you based on an allegation?  Bastards...

    The system is broken, no doubt about it...however you could line up 10,000 immigrants in chains and it won't fix a damn thing, and it would be terribly inhumane.


    I (2.00 / 0) (#103)
    by tek on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:10:08 PM EST
    don't see what's so inhumane about it, not that I think anyone should be lined up in chains.  These people fully understand what they are doing.  They know they are going to take jobs away from legal citizens.  They know they are going to commit more crimes to get jobs.  They don't care what happens to Americans, they don't like us.  

    All of the people coming across are not desperate, poor people.  My husband had a student who had been manager of a Wal-Mart in Mexico.  He told us that the supervisors under him, who were Mexicans, made good money and had good working hours and conditions.  But these young still left and sneaked across into the U. S. because they thought they could get even more money and they had friends and relatives in the U. S. who would harbor them and find them work.  One of the most popular cities was Chicago.


    My next door neighbors.... (5.00 / 0) (#110)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:39:07 PM EST
    are from El Salvador, I don't know if they are "legal" or not, I'd guess not but I don't care...they're good neighbors who loan me a cup of sugar when I'm out and invite me to their bbq's.  They like "us", they like us so much they want to be like us.

    You are making a vast criminal conspiracy out of people whose only crime is trying to find the best life for themselves on this planet.  "They know what they are doing"....yeah, they know what they are doing like I know what I'm doing...trying to carve out a free existence in a crazy f*cked up world.  That's what WE are doing...sometimes it doesn't jive with our precious "rules".

    And if you don't see what is inhumane about the chains I'm guessing you've never been in them...I know what it's like (to a much lesser extent) to be an undesirable...it's no carnival.


    "They don't like us"??? (none / 0) (#107)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:29:27 PM EST
    Projection, a little, no?

    One of the problems in the USA is that (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:36:55 AM EST
    we don't fine employers who hire illegals enough to make them responsible for who they hire.  There are ways for them to check if an employee has valid ID or not.  

    The solution is to raise the fines on employers -- but no one seems to want to do that.

    and ENFORCE them. (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 06:55:58 AM EST
    Nothing like a little selective enforcement to grease the wheels of illegal commerce.

    How about... (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Lora on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 09:21:52 AM EST
    How about arrest the employers, shackle them at wrists and ankles, frog-march them to the courtroom and slap headsets on their heads so they can hear the translation of the charges.

    I hear you.... (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:39:04 PM EST
    but the best case scenario is to shackle and cage no one....let people hire and let people work.

    Yeah, it would be great if all meatpackers got paid 25 an hour w/ benefits and they all had their papers in order....but that ain't gonna happen...those days are long gone, it's a global market now.  

    I'll take greater freedom and a pass on the shackles as a consolation prize.  If the workers didn't have their immigration status hanging over their heads they could organize for better wages.  And if employers didn't have to police the immigratuion status of their workforce, theoretically they could pay more.


    Yes, it is the fear of being deported (none / 0) (#98)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:39:39 PM EST
    that gives the employers all the power and allows them to exploit the workers.....

    If workers did not live in the shadows, then their wages would probably be higher.....and there would be less downward pressure on other wages too.


    That's absurd (none / 0) (#106)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:27:38 PM EST
    One big reason there is so much pressure on wages is because illegal aliens are undercutting American workers.

    Illegals create more competition among low skilled American workers, but even that is beginning to change. There is increasing pressure on lower and middle income Americans as illegals enter in to the skilled trades prefessions. That is a fact that you keep ignoring.

    Most illegals work in the underground economy. They pay no taxes, but receive benefits when the need arises.


    They pay plenty of taxes.... (5.00 / 0) (#111)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:41:53 PM EST
    sales taxes, property taxes passed on in their rent, withholding taxes under phony ss #'s that they can't file to get back.

    They pay plenty of taxes and do the dirty jobs...far from freeloaders, in fact they're the f*cking salt of the earth.


    Since when do sales and property taxes (none / 0) (#112)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:50:24 PM EST
    Pay for SSI, and Medicaid? Do you also believe Americans should subsidize college tuition for an illegal alien's children like some states are doing?

    You are wrong if you believe a majority of illegals pay withholding taxes.

    Research it.


    Nobody "off the books".... (none / 0) (#116)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:21:07 PM EST
    pays withholding taxes...that includes plenty of citizens like my brother and my friendly neighborhood reefer-man.  Nobody is b*tching about them though...why?

    I've got no problem with the state helping anybody go to school...regardless of where their parents were born.  I've got no problem with emergency rooms being forbidden from turning anybody away.  I'd hate to live in a country where people where denied emergency care bases on immigration status or ability to pay.  Besides, there are much bigger rip-offs to the taxpayer of the white-collar variety that I am more concerned about...like the Iraq occupation to name a biggie, or the drug war.

    I've got a big problem with us becoming a "Papers!  I need to see your papers!" society.  F*ck that....what an awful country that would be.


    Well, show me some stats (none / 0) (#109)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:37:58 PM EST
    to back-up your sweeping statements....

    Look, I hear you--you do not like immigrants, legal or illegal.  It does appear you want to really cap legal immigration too.  Too bad, they are really not the threat you make them out to be.  Very nice people for the most part.


    Legal immigration (none / 0) (#135)
    by Lora on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:46:35 AM EST
    People sneak in.  Employers hire and exploit them.  We benefit in terms of lower cost on certain goods.  We lose in terms of the job market and wages.

    So what do we do?  Say it's OK to sneak in?  Sneaking in is not sneaking in?  Can we absorb the number of people that an open door policy would attract?  I have no idea.  Any sound, unbiased, non-partisan research out there?

    If we punish the folks who sneak in and get caught, and not those who hire and thereby encourage them to sneak in, we are keeping the system intact and ensuring a steady supply of low-paid, exploited workers to keep the corporate profits high and prices relatively low.


    Defending the indefendsible (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Prabhata on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:30:24 AM EST
    I so totally disagree with the comment:

    "But there is a profound difference between stealing people's identities to rob them of money and property, and using false papers to merely get a job."

    Using a stolen social security number should be a serious crime, and I think those people do not deserve pity.

    I disagree (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:41:49 AM EST
    Many of them have no idea what a Social Security number means.  

    On top of that, it benefits the person who has had their number used because it INFLATES the $$$$ that person made while they were working.  

    If you retired and suddenly discovered that an illegal was using your social security number and now the SS office thinks you made $120,000 every quarter since you started working -- would you complain?  That would boost your SS payments to the top!  

    Trust me, those who've had their numbers used don't complain.  


    it doesn't always work that way (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:51:35 AM EST
    Apparently not a benefit at all (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:52:34 AM EST
    if the SSN is actually someone else's, according to the earlier thread on this a few days ago.  And it seems that many such SSNs are not "taken."  But even if so, to quote the commenter in the earlier thread, "not necessarily a positive since the IRS will get a W-2 showing income that the person with that social security number won't know about and won't report, causing (at the very least) unpleasant confusion come tax time."

    Yeah (none / 0) (#29)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:27:06 AM EST
    Ha ha ha...  Like the IRS is so much more efficient than the INS is.  

    No, that's not gonna happen.  Really.  


    You haven't been audited (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:36:26 AM EST
    I gather.

    They know they need papers, right? (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:05:44 AM EST
    They know they are here illegally, right? I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't know any paperwork they got from an unofficial source would be, well, illegal. If they could just obtain legal papers that easily, they would be coming into the country legal and just picking up their papers when they got here. And we wouldn't have an illegal immigration problem.

    Don't the SS computers have any systems where they would get a red flag if someone else were using my SS number in, say central CA while I currently live and work in NY? They send me a statement every year or so that has my work history and such . . .  And aren't deceased persons numbers being used in some cases.

    They deserve proper legal council and shouldn't be railroaded etc, but also, we need to crack down on employers and those that are supplying the illegal paperwork.

    Do you think it would be legal for me to use someone else's info?  


    I worked at an employment agency 17 yrs ago and (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:38:21 AM EST
    my first assignment of the day was to call the social security dept to ask if the numbers and names of the applicants matched. If yes, the process continued, if not, we refused to help them. The fines were extremely high, so it was imperative to find out if the numbers were legitimate. It took me no more than 15 minutes.

    It's such BS when I hear that employers have no way of checking, all they have to do is call, not only that if your company is big enough or you call often, they assign you a person with whom you deal with every day!


    Give them work VISAs (none / 0) (#16)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:07:11 AM EST
    That would solve the whole problem....

    Well, maybe someone should apply (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:12:22 AM EST
    for them? Or should we just hand them out at the border? Don't we have multiple programs that could be utilized? If the programs can't handle the employers needs, maybe they should bring it up with the government, ala Gates.

    No, the Tancredos of the world (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:14:37 AM EST
    do not want work VISAs--and they are very hard to get....

    I am astonished at the arrogance--accident of birth means automatic entitlement to wealth.


    Could you explain your last paragraph? (none / 0) (#21)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:16:40 AM EST
    Who are you refering to? The employers?

    No. (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:20:36 AM EST
    Illegal aliens who use false social security numbers most likely also have Federal taxes and FICA withheld, so they are paying taxes....

    They want to work and feed their kids....I think it is horrid, unAmerican and unChristian that we would even consider putting such people in jail.


    So what/who is the automatic entitlement (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:36:12 AM EST
    referring to?

    Ok, so they want to work and feed the family. What good does it do if they get caught and deported, leaving their kids as "orphans"? Or, if they were sending money back and no longer can? I can't believe they wouldn't have thought of this before they came here. They choose the risk (for many reasons), but bottom line, they are still breaking the law by choice. Again, they need proper representation and employers need to be held accountable, but they really should abide by our laws if they want to live here.


    U.S. citizens (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:45:17 AM EST
    have the entitlement....

    I just am not into punishing illegal aliens.....

    Knowing illegal aliens personally and knowing their stories makes a difference.....It is harder to condemn people one knows....

    Some of the illegal aliens coming from Mexico and Central America have lived in such deprivation....it is beyond many people's comprehension here....Walk a mile in their shoes before you condemn them....  


    I'm not condeming them (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:56:35 AM EST
    knowing their story doesn't change our laws. Nor does it change the fact that they all should get proper legal representation. If I walked a mile in their shoes, it wouldn't change the laws either.

    In the countries they come from (none / 0) (#56)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:11:02 AM EST
    breaking the law can result in far harsher treatment than here.  Makes it easier to see why people take risks to come here.  

    BTW, you didn't answer about my (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:13:58 AM EST
    using someone else's SS#. Would it be ok as long as I wasn't stealing from them?

    Clearly, not okay (none / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:16:43 AM EST
    But I wouldn't put anyone in jail over it.....

    People who just want to work and feed thier kids are not criminals.....


    Gee, I hope you're my jury (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:26:13 AM EST
    if I get caught. People who are in the country illegally and using someone else's ID are breaking the law. They knew that and made the choice before they came here. Do I think they should all go to jail, no. BUT, do I think we should apply a blanket solution? Nope. When they do these raids, I do think the employer should get the harsh end of the outcome, but the employees should have a consequence also. But even that shouldn't be a blanket answer. It should be the abusers, not the company that gets audited or whatever and is found to have an illegal or 2 (thinking large companies here where someone may have slipped through the cracks etc).

    Calling illegal aliens whose only (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:35:09 AM EST
    "crime" is coming her illegally to work is wrong.

    There is so much talk of keeping "them" out, and how "they" are breaking the law.....

    The only difference between those who work hard here as U.S. citizens and those who work hard here as illegal alens is accident of birth....

    And, we should allow so many more VISAs based on asylum.  


    Until the laws change . . . (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:42:01 AM EST
    it IS a crime, afaik. This isn't about how I feel personally, it's about our laws and governing currently. Which to my knowledge is applied to all here, including me  ;)

    Then change the law (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:49:32 AM EST
    I would hope progressives would draw the line at putting people in jail who only came here to work.



    Well, I thought it was a given (none / 0) (#42)
    by nycstray on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:01:44 AM EST
    the law needs to change?

    It isn't just coming here to work. Not that simple once they start using false documents, etc. And the laws as they currently stand.


    If it is a bad law (none / 0) (#46)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:14:14 AM EST
    then no need to put people into jail over it.

    The opposite sounds like Javert to me.


    Does that ever work in real life? (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:13:23 AM EST
    "Your Honor, this is a Bad Law.  Don't you agree that people shouldn't be incarcerated under Bad Laws?".

    Don't think so.


    Instead of giving a work VISA (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:35:05 AM EST
    to the entire world, maybe every one should apply for citizenship and enter legally

    No, it is not about that (none / 0) (#34)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:37:46 AM EST
    There are so few VISAs available.

    For many people the idea is to keep people out.....If that is not the idea, then there would be no problem generously giving out VISAs.


    Stop spreading lies (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:45:04 AM EST
    You have an agenda and that's fine, but tell the truth instead of propaganda.

    There are limits to protect American jobs, and the ONLY reason there are ANY VISAs at all is to fill jobs that aren't being taken by Americans.

    The idea of the VISA program is not to provide work for the entire world, but to help American business

    Get a clue


    This statement is quite simply (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by camellia on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 11:41:08 AM EST

    "There are limits to protect American jobs, and the ONLY reason there are ANY VISAs at all is to fill jobs that aren't being taken by Americans."

    Ever heard of asylum?  Ever heard of family reunification? Ever heard that people come here to get better jobs, not necessarily the scutwork jobs that Americans don't want?  Also, ever hear that some people come because they have qualifications that not enough people here have?  Ever heard that we are a "nation of immigrants", and that people come here seeking better lives for themselves and their families?  

    I am an immigrant myself.  I came because I met my U.S. husband long ago, and we married and moved here.  Should I have been denied a visa?  Yikes!  I actually worked here at jobs that U.S. citizens wanted!  And, by the way, while I am on the topic -- it is a matter of some irritation in the other countries of this hemisphere that we call ourselves "Americans", as if we are the only ones and the others don't matter.  U.S. citizens is correct.  

    I hear that the poem on the Statue of Liberty has been changed from "Send me your sick, your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... " to "Send me your rich tourists with Euros to spend, your lawn people and your cleaning ladies, your crop pickers ... but keep your poor people and their kids at home where they can starve politely and where we don't need to be troubled  by conscience."

    No, we can't save the world, but we can do something constructive to clean up this immigration mess, and we can start by being compassionate.



    what's silly about my statement? (none / 0) (#82)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:24:39 PM EST
    Perhaps because you disagree with it. The major part of the VISA program is to help American business, not provide jobs or asylum for the entire world.

    What political grounds do you offer to justify asylum for Mexican immigrants? Central America? Family reunification? I suppose illegals should be able to bring their families to the USA? But I thought you were arguing for a worker program, in which case, if an illegal or legal is here for work, then shouldn't they eventually return home?

    BTW there is no industry wide shortage of labor that Americans aren't qualified to fill. Why business can't fill those jobs with Americans is another story.


    Guatemala (none / 0) (#117)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    Yes, you better believe Guatemaltecos have valid claims of asylum.  Learning about the history of Central America would put much of this debate in context.  

    You prove my point (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:47:37 AM EST
    I say there are few VISAs--and you agree....



    So few visas? Are you kidding? 6 million people (none / 0) (#66)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 09:20:35 AM EST
    got temporary working visas last year under 10 categories.

    How many VISAs go (none / 0) (#84)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:01:17 PM EST
    to unskilled Latinos?  Not too many I would venture.

    And, learning Spanish is not so bad....  


    How many Latinos applied for a VISA (none / 0) (#89)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:13:49 PM EST
    You claim there is a lack of VISAs. I don't agree.

    But if there is an insufficient number of VISAs, has it stopped any illegal Latino from getting a job in the USA?


    If getting a temporary work VISA (none / 0) (#93)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:17:39 PM EST
    for unskilled work were easy, then many, many would avail themselves of it....

    The fact that a guest worker program is part of many proposed bills, not in law yet, tells me it is not easy for unskilled Latinos to get VISAs.


    Do you know how this works? (none / 0) (#75)
    by sj on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:55:21 AM EST
    maybe every one should apply for citizenship and enter legally

    As I read it, that's a bogus statement.  It sounds like you think someone can apply for citizenship before ever entering the country.  How many foreign born citizens do you know in real life?  If there is even one, you know this is a very strange statement to make.


    Thank you, sj! (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by camellia on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 11:51:37 AM EST
    A very good point.  In order to become a citizen, you must reside within the U.S. for five years, although there are a few exceptions to this rule -- people who enlist in the USAF can become citizens on an accelerated schedule, and a couple of other categories.

    The rules are strict:  you must stay here and not leave the country for more than a few weeks per year during those five years; you must learn to speak English, be able to take a test in English (unless you are over 65, when you can take it in your native language if you provide a qualified interpreter at the time of taking the test), be of good character -- i.e., no felonies on your record, fill out incredibly detailed application forms and submit them with a payment of (I forget -- it went up recently) about $700.00.  

    On the test, you will be asked about 10 questions of the legendary "100 questions" that you need to study:  such things as "What is the Bill of Rights", who was Abraham Lincoln?, What do the stars on the flag represent?, what were the original 13 colonies?  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  Just ask yourself before you sniff at how simple it is -- would I be able to answer 100 questions about the government and history of Ecuador?  or Congo?  Or Somalia?  Or Mexico -- these are all nationalities whose citizens have appeared in my Citizenship classes.


    Hey you left out this important part (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:13:35 PM EST
    United States Immigration policies and rules for American citizenship require that an applicant must have been LAWFULLY admitted to the United States for permanent residence.

    LAWFULLY admitted for permanent residence means having been LEGALLY accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration laws.

    Not bypass our laws, but in accordance with them.


    I don't care (none / 0) (#92)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:15:30 PM EST
    And nor does McCain....

    And I forgot .... (none / 0) (#80)
    by camellia on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:13:10 PM EST
    they have to be LEGAL immigrants.  

    They get fake papers (none / 0) (#26)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:24:31 AM EST
    They buy them off the guy on the corner.  They don't know what all this "Paper" stuff is.  They're illegal.

    They go to such and such corner, they pay and get papers and then they can work!  

    That's all a lot of them know.  


    I challenge you (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 05:36:32 AM EST
    to give out your ssn so it can be used by illegals.  I challenge you to put your identity out there.  Further, I challenge you to show a  link to show where someone's ssn was used without their authorization and they did not mind at all.  A link please.

    I do complain..... they put my life in danger! (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:22:03 AM EST
    You better pray to God it doesn't happen to you and the mess you'll have to go through to get your life back in order!

    Not only them (none / 0) (#68)
    by Lora on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 09:31:01 AM EST
    Of course you have a legitimate charge against those who stole your identity.  It is unconscionable that your life should ever have been in danger from this.

    Let me suggest that the worker who ultimately used it was only one in the chain however, and perhaps the easiest one to target.  There is the entire complicit system:  whoever helped that worker come over illegally and no doubt helped provide that person with your SSN and who perhaps actually stole it in the first place, the employers who hired that worker, knowing full well or else happily not wanting to know that that worker had arrived to that point by illegal means, to name a couple of the more egregious operators of the system.

    It seems to me it's like throwing the book at drug users without addressing the suppliers and the dealers.


    You have to catch them (none / 0) (#88)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:12:34 PM EST
    to prosecute them.  And the littlest fish are the easiest to catch and the easiest to get plea deals out of.  

    I wouldn't mind Homeland Security busting up human trafficking operations.  Good use of taxes IMO.  If they can move living, breathing human beings with ease, what else could they be bringing over the border?


    Latino workers put your life in danger? (none / 0) (#90)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:14:10 PM EST
    What an alarmist way to frame the debate....

    This debate is really over....There will be a pathway to citizenship.....Even McCain would not veto such a bill.

    The Tancredos of the world have lost.  Good.


    Hmm, I read your post earlier (none / 0) (#97)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:36:07 PM EST
    upthread....I'm sorry you had to go through that....

    The problem can be fixed at the enforcement level, or those tracking the social security issues....taking it out on undocumented workers is not the answer.


    Until the IRS comes after them (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by DaleA on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:14:31 AM EST
    for not reporting the income. And for not paying taxes on it. Only if there is enough withholding can the person get out from under the problem. This can leave someone with thousands in IRS debt.

    How often does this actually occur (none / 0) (#86)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:10:43 PM EST
    And, the solution would be to gvie the taxpayer better ability to challenge this...

    Prevention is best. (none / 0) (#91)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:15:03 PM EST
    Why should a taxpayer have to invest resources to prove their innocence?  It's not even their fault!

    You say their is (none / 0) (#94)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:19:28 PM EST
    a problem with the IRS....Then fix that problem....rather than use it as an excuse to keep Latino workers out.

    Not talking about (none / 0) (#99)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:48:56 PM EST
    latino workers.  This thread is about illegal aliens.

    Yes, indeed! It is (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by camellia on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:22:50 PM EST
    about "illegal aliens" but just put in one more adjective there:  "illegal Spanish-speaking aliens".  How many other illegal aliens do we know?  Do we ever talk about "all those Arabs" or "all those Canadians" or "all those Russians".  When we speak about illegal aliens, we mean Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemaltecos, Bolivians, Peruvians, Salvadorenos.  Seems to me we should just put up a great big fence around the whole country and quietly get on with our smug and comfortable lives.  (Probably we could get some illegal aliens to do the work)  Maybe the problem we see with globalism is that we are forced to confront some of the problems of the rest of the world and to engage.  

    This is hateful stuff, especially coming from people who have up till now seemed to be literate, intelligent and thoughtful.  Yes, it's a problem.  No, we can't solve it overnight.  But yes -- we have to do something, and surely there are people who can develop rational and humane solutions to these problems.  

    And now, I am fed up and checking out of here.


    In Los Angeles (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by DaleA on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:22:31 PM EST
    we do have undocumented Russians, Armenians, Australians, Chinese, Koreans, Irish, Polish, Vietnamese, Latinos and others. So, here at least, this is not an argument about race or ethnicity. At least in SoCal.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#120)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:29:19 PM EST
    It is primarily about Latinos in SoCal.  By the numbers, Mexicans and other Latinos make up by far the largest segment of undocumented workers here...

    I live here in SoCal, and look around you, the janitorial crews, the kitchen workers, the landscappers, the construction workers are predominantly Latinos....

    That is true really anywhere:  downtown LA, Century City, the Valley, etc....Sure there are others, but Latinos are the very largest swath....


    Yes, we have so many (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:27:30 PM EST
    illegal aliens coming from Albania....

    Right (none / 0) (#121)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:36:36 PM EST
    most of the illegal Albanian immigrants are in Greece. Alhtough we do have some.

    But who cares, really? The point is that many of those who want to defend illegal immigration choose to opportunistically and, mostly, falsely, label their opposition as racists.


    What happens is that (none / 0) (#122)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 04:01:37 PM EST
    many talk about preserving their "culture," as if the Latino culture were somehow unAmerican.

    The ignorance behind that is that the Latino culture was American before English culture was.

    If it were only Albanians, we wouldn't be having this discussion.....

    I must say that I am disappointed that we have so many Hillary supporters (host and proprietor oviously excluded) on this left-leaning blog who are devotees of Lou Dobbs....


    tribe cultures before it was Latino. So what?

    If you think we wouldn't be having this discussion if the 7 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in the US were Albanian, you are truly deluding yourself.


    You ignore the (none / 0) (#124)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 04:43:37 PM EST
    anti-Latino sentiment....It would be hard to deny that those who are complaining about culture are exposing their own prejudice.

    Yes, Native Americans are Americans too.....The point is that those who do not like Latino culture do not like a significant aspect of American culture....

    I am really surprised at the Lou Dobbs support among Hillary supporters here.   One more difference I guess.


    You ignore that (none / 0) (#127)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 05:09:34 PM EST
    if there were 7-20 million illegal Albanians there would be similar anti-Albanian sentiment.

    Odd, though, that many on this blog find other nations' anti-American sentiment acceptable and valid, but decry any negative sentiments expressed by any Americans toward other nations as racist.

    Lastly, I have no clue why you repeatedly reference Hillary & Dobbs in apparent response to my comments. Could you explain?


    We're supposed to be the good guys (none / 0) (#128)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 05:22:18 PM EST
    And which nations' anti-American sentiment are you talking about?

    I see the prejudice against Latinos--here on this thread--it is not hypothetical.  

    I suppose you are a Hillary supporter--the person here worrying about "culture" is.  Maybe you are a Republican.   Your reference to anti-American sentiment sounds Republican--and that is a wholly different phenomenon--it is about disliking American foreign policy, not having a bigotted view of Americans....


    And if there were (none / 0) (#129)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 05:37:08 PM EST
    7-20 million illegal alien Albanians here, there would be prejudice against Albanians as well.

    The problem is when some (not you, apparently) ascribe prejudice or racism as the source of anti-illegal immigrant sentiment and/or label anyone opposed to illegal immigration as prejudiced or racist.

    As for the rest, I've posting here since Daniel Pearl was murdered. I'll let you figure it out.


    Defending the indefensible (none / 0) (#8)
    by Prabhata on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:31:03 AM EST
    They have children (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:06:07 AM EST
    many of whom are U.S. citizens.....I do not think is  good to deport the parents making orphans of the children....

    It's okay (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:29:01 AM EST
    Angelina Jolie will adopt them all.


    Just kidding.  


    and now, the rest of the story (3.00 / 2) (#41)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:00:20 AM EST
    Most illegals start families after they have come to the USA, which is why I believe we must change citizenship by birth.

    The majority of illegals didn't bring their families with them when they came here for "work"


    So, we need to change the constitution (none / 0) (#43)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:04:52 AM EST
    now?  Why?  It worked fine for those who came before us.....What makes it different now?

    And you put "work" in quotation marks.   But isn't that the case....

    They are just poor people who want to work......


    there's a reason why our founders (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:13:41 AM EST
    added that little thing about a Constitutional amendment. If something isn't working, then change it.

    It is working (none / 0) (#47)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:16:20 AM EST
    You realize of course (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:12:17 AM EST
    that you are talking about amending the Fourteenth Amendment.  The idea about those who were born here aree citizens was designed to make sure slavery was done away with.

    If you change the constitution, then you would have potentially generations of people born here who are not citizens--it is one of the problems Europe has--it creates a permanent underclass......makes assimilation more difficult....and goes against the great tradition of this country....  


    Thanks for proving my point (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:17:54 AM EST
    You are interested in advocating for citizenship, not "work" or an expanded VISA program, but citizenship for basically any one.  

    It's useless to continue to try to point out your argument's many shortcomings.


    Have you ever been (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:23:34 AM EST
    to Mexico or Central America and seen the living conditions--I think that would make a difference.  

    I am not the one advocating a change in the U.S. constitution....

    I am in favor of a greatly expanded work permits and a pathway for citizenship for those already here.      


    that would make a difference? (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:39:18 AM EST
    Classic guilt trip

    I've been there, but there are terrible living conditions all over the world. What does that have to do with citizenship for illegal aliens? If they are here for "work" then they should eventually intend to go back, right? No need for citizenship, if work is the ONLY reason they are here.

    No need for more permits when American unemployment is so high


    It is compassion (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:46:55 AM EST
    If one has compassion for our neighbors, then it changes the tone of the debate over immigration--that is an important first step.  

    But it seems many don't want any immigrants, legal or illegal....It is about keeping them out...

    We can't take everyone, but we can be at minimum be compassionate.....treat illegal aliens as real people....


    I do have compassion (none / 0) (#125)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 04:44:28 PM EST
    I have compassion for starving people, no matter what nationality. That doesn't mean we can provide every one a job and citizenship.

    It is obvious you want citizenship for every one and any one. Thankfully, most Americans disagree with you. You do not want a guest worker program.

    Guest workers legally enter for a period of time, and leave. You never mention the illegals returning home.

    You ignore facts, and try to play on emotions, or call people racists. America has nothing to feel guilty about concerning illegals. The USA is not the world's welfare office.


    Actually` (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:51:52 AM EST
    Greater ease of travel back and forth would most likely lessen those who want to stay.....You underestimate how much many workers here love and miss their families back home....



    Why should illegal immigrants from latin America (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:55:21 AM EST
    & Mexico get amnesty simply because they can walk across the border? Therefore because my husband couldn't swim across the Atlantic he deserved to have waited 14yrs to get a green card (he holds a master's degree) or is it because he's not skilled in manual labor?

    Do you have any idea of the amount of hoops legal immigrants have to go through to get here? Do you know the amount of documentation to be gotten from all the countries they have lived or even vacationed in from their respective legal authorities to prove that they have not committed an illegal offense or are not wanted for crimes? The physical and medical examinations/tests they have to go through?

    Amnesty conveniently eliminates all the above, otherwise, a great percentage would be disqualified, is that fair to the legal immigrants? How about all the people who have applied legally and have been waiting for years? Are they just suckers for not breaking our laws because had they done the reverse they would have been rewarded with a pathway to citizenship - it makes no sense!


    Because I do not resent Latinos (none / 0) (#87)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:11:26 PM EST
    who are here merely to work....

    I disagree as well.... (none / 0) (#77)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 11:00:47 AM EST
    If I need a job, and the boss needs a nine digit number, I'm coming up with a 9 digit number one way or another.

    Murder, rape, armed robbery are serious crimes.  Making up or using someone elses 9 digit number is not...at least in my book.


    you can disagree all you want, (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:22:58 AM EST
    you'll still be wrong. and so will the good dr.

    i disagree with your assertion that "using false papers to get a job is stealing money". i don't see how this meets many of the elements of theft. e.g., you need to have a specific, identifiable victim. you need mens rea. (if you're not talking about theft, what do you mean by "stealing"?)

    the commission of an affirmative act (the use of identifying documents not their own) is prima facie evidence of intent. whether you intended to hurt someone else is also irrelevant, that your knowing action did is the key. using those fraudulently acquired documents, to take money from an employer, relying on those documents for their employment decision, is fraud.

    i go to rob a bank. i don't intend for anyone to get hurt, i just want the cash. unfortunately, in spite of my best efforts, a teller suffers a fatal heart attack. i will be charged with, at minimum, involuntary manslaughter, even though i never had the intent to harm anyone.

    that's just black letter law.

    Thanks for the lecture, Javert (none / 0) (#119)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:23:19 PM EST
    Horrible (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 11:29:20 PM EST
    And at tax payers expense no less.

    the taxpayers biggest complaint (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:00:03 AM EST
    is the loss of SS and Medicare taxes from employees/employers that don't go through the system, but still receive benefits

    If they have filled out W-4s (none / 0) (#17)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:10:16 AM EST
    then they pay Federal taxes......even if it is a false social secuirty number....

    not always (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ChuckieTomato on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:19:31 AM EST
    If an illegal claims too many dependents on a W4 and underpays then who is the IRS coming after?

    You missed the larger point, and that is, many employers don't withhold taxes but pay in cash, and  benefits are received every time an illegal enters an ER or welfare office


    Many employers do (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:23:07 AM EST
    not pay in cash....You would be surprised how many Fortune 100 companies do that....

    As to medical care, I find it hard to resent someone for taking their kids to see a doctor....


    I Mean Paying For Prison (none / 0) (#69)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:00:32 AM EST
    There is a sick GOP meanness to that.

    employers are grouping together to (none / 0) (#5)
    by thereyougo on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 12:46:05 AM EST
    get legislation to KEEP them ferreners as they are jobs Americans won't do. Its all about businesses and the influence of lobbying at the government level.

    Business is against the raids, and some families are leaving back to Mexico because of it.  Mexico needs to face the task of employing their poor now, but awhile back Mexico was happy to send us them al Norte.

    There is talk about a superhighway linking Mexico and the USA to Canada, its the oddest thing. Not much is said about it in the MSM, but apparently unless there is some intervention, there won't be any borders and this fight with immigration will be kabuki.

    Those "ferreners" (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:25:47 AM EST
    are people too.  No better, no worse, than the people who are lucky enough to be born here.

    Minus a social network (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:07:00 AM EST
    and various other intangibles that make our lives easier.

    Anyone who doesn't speak the language, know the culture, understand the laws, and so on is going to be at a serious disadvantage compared to anyone who does.  Read Sinclair's The Jungle if you need a reminder of what exploitation looks like.

    It's a simple equation.  Certain companies want workers they can exploit for a profit.  So instead of hiring Americans who are more likely to stand up for themselves, they get immigrants who are easy to exploit, mislead, take advantage of, so forth and so on.

    The best way to remove the incentive for businesses to exploit immigrants is to throw the book at them every time.  Money talks.  Lawyers don't come cheap.

    As for the workers?  Almost, but don't quite throw the book at them.  Tell them how much legal hot water they could be in and then send them home.  If they come back a second time, then throw the book at them.  


    Throwing the book at them (none / 0) (#95)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:22:23 PM EST
    You know, there is a reason I cannot ever be a Republican.

    The solution is a guest worker program and enforcing minimum wage and working condition laws--not getting rid of undesirables....


    "Knowing the culture" (none / 0) (#96)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:24:44 PM EST
    I think Latino workers have no problem dealing with that...

    U.S. culture includes a healthy swath of Latino influence.  Being an American and Latino are not mutually exclusive...


    Oklahoma is the worst (none / 0) (#58)
    by Saul on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:17:46 AM EST
    The state passed one of the strictest immigration laws since the U.S. Congress failed to do anything.  It was so bad that 80 percent of the immigrants left within 2 months.  If you gave a ride to an illegal immigrant it was a felony.   The state officials were all so proud until the complaints of finding any workers starting affecting many of the industries in Oklahoma.  Builders were saying Yeah you did a good job of scaring off all the immigrants and now we have no workers to finish the building and we can't find Americnas here in Oklahoma that want those jobs.  Other industries in Oklahoma had similar complaints.

    I say increase the amount of work visas to solve this problem.  The majority of the workers are here to better their financial situation only.  They are not here to become American citizens.  Some become citizens because there is no other legal alternative.

    Pay $20 per hour & (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 08:48:21 AM EST
    those "contractors" can hire all the woodbutchers & ditchdiggers they need.

    This is a complete & total fraud.  The illegals are here to make certain businesses more profitable by employing low-wage workers.

    The migrant farm workers are a laughable method to depress wages, make mediocre "farmers" appear to be more successful, & to avoid paying for such services as unemployment, L&I as workmen's comp., & State medicaid programs.

    Busting & prosecuting the undocumented workers is just publicity for Bu$hInc & a gambit to give Sen. McCain some leeway on this idiotic, fabricated "problem."

    Until 1964 there was a "Bracero Program" that started in 1942 & significantly enhanced the USA war effort.  As soon as Cesar Chavez began to organize the farm workers, the program was cancelled & such workers are now "illegals."  This allows & encourages the phony employers to threaten the undocumented workers with calling the INS & having them deported.

    The website rules preclude me going through the list of horrendously idiotic generalizations & calling them the racist, elitist, propaganda that they really are.  Some of the comments here look like the musings of Limbaugh & his ilk.  

    The Bracero Program worked, very well.  It could & should be re-established & the jingoistic chauvinism of the GOP & Conservative blowhards effectively eliminated.


    Health & Safety Regs Also (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by DaleA on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:00:35 AM EST
    Undocumented workers are unlikely to call in reports of health and safety regulations. They won't go to OSHA. This is another side effect of our situation.

    Yup. Thus human fesces in spinach. (none / 0) (#72)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 10:22:42 AM EST
    Oh, fer pete's ....! (none / 0) (#85)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:04:36 PM EST
    E. coli H0157 is almost exclusively found in grain fed ruminants eg. feed lot cattle.

    In fact, IIRC, runoff from a bovine operation was what was the most likely culprit in the spinach contamination.  They haven't figured out what caused the problem with the salmonella outbreak, but one of the likely suspects is contaminated water in the washing process.

    Human feces?  Can we at least get the fricking facts right around here!

    (What blog am I on again?)


    So vehement in your absence of knowledge (none / 0) (#126)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 04:50:18 PM EST
    or facts about this subject matter.  Farm worker contamination of produce is a well docmented problem & the reasons are widely known.  Perhaps you should read more widely on the topic before commenting so negatively.

    This is a good general discussion of the problem, here (link) & following is the money quote:


    Because E. coli can be spread numerous ways, the diet of dairy and beef cattle is not the sole contributor to this problem. In addition to manure and contaminated irrigation water, E. coli can be spread by farmhands using the field as a toilet, by insufficient produce washing by processors and by inadequate refrigeration, which promotes bacteria growth in the sealed bags of fresh salad greens.

    Although California produce farmers are required by law to provide hand washing and toilet facilities for all of their field workers, the workers are not always willing or able to get to these facilities and still meet their employer's work requirements. Even though the bathroom facilities are supposed to be within either a five-minute walk or one-quarter mile from the work site, workers, for whatever reason, do not always utilize these facilities.

    [my underline emphasis]

    You can read about the overall response by the FDA as they change their guidelines here (link):

    Direct or indirect contact with animal or human feces is the major source of microbial contamination, and it's hard to remove or kill microbes from tainted produce, notes the FDA.

    You can catch up on the actual FDA Practices for the State of Florida here (link)

    E.coli O157:H7 /
    Animal (cattle, deer) / human feces, environment /
    Cabbage, celery, cilantro, coriander

    Don't question other commenters FACTS unless you have some links to re-educate the readers--especially "F" word types of facts.


    Yeah, yeah. (none / 0) (#130)
    by Fabian on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:33:56 PM EST
    I find it hard to believe that the most likely cause is humans.  Possible?  Yes.  Likely?  Not very.

    Micro organisms just require a source and friendly environment to grow in.  Contaminated water is THE best way to spread micro organisms.  And if you re-use the wash water without sufficiently sanitizing it, and then wash batch after batch of produce with it.  Bingo - widespread contamination of possibly multiple types of produce.  It doesn't even have to happen at the field or even at the first step in processing.  It could happen anywhere from field to final packaging.  

    Where the bacteria comes from isn't always that important.  The culprit in the salmonella outbreak may well have been the water used to clean the produce.  Ironic, yes?

    Of course, we could grow all our produce hydroponically in sterile conditions.  In theory.


    Very dismissive of the facts, yeah-yeah. (none / 0) (#132)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 08:14:52 PM EST
    It would appear that your opinions don't matter to me or the FDA, CDC, or USDA.

    And my links indicate that animal feces will be the primary & major sources.  However human feces is a regular factor in these outbreaks.

    That's why the FBI was sent to investigate the spinach contamination.  The CDC identified the e.coli as human.  So the investigation was to see if any laws had been broken in terms of human sanitation.

    It turned out that feral hogs, some distance away, had eaten human feces & re-excreted it into an irrigation water supply--not reported in the media.

    But that doesn't change my point or the facts that unsanitary conditions for undocumented migrant workers at mis-managed produce farms are a significant problem.

    Thus human feces on spinach.


    Coincidentally enough, (none / 0) (#133)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 11:51:08 PM EST
    speaking of e coli, I was driving through the San Joaquin Valley/Salinas area just yesterday.

    One of the stories on some NPR-ish talk radio station I was listening to was about the agency (OSHA maybe?)that drives around and supposedly enforces farm worker's required working conditions - like the requirement for nearby drinking water and portable toilets.

    All the workers in the story were legal, yet in case after case very few of the farmers/labor providers had the water or the toilets close enough (according to labor law) to the workers.

    iow, the legality/illegality of the workers probably has little or nothing to do with the availability of porta potties or, by extension, adherence to other similar labor laws.


    Documented workers can "complain" (none / 0) (#134)
    by wurman on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 08:31:01 AM EST
    but they actually don't in order to avoid ratting out their undocumented colleagues.  The farm owners & managers know this.  So do the agencies that investigate.

    The entire migrant farm worker safety & sanitation program is totally distorted by the presence of undocumented people who are being extorted by the "system."  Any single farm operation can function on the basis of knowing that only a "random" spot check is ever going to find violations.  So the farmers save money, & gain overall worker field time, by ignoring the rules & accepting the risk of an occasional fine.

    No farm worker will snitch, documented or not, so that's a factor that doesn't change the dynamic.


    I don't believe it for a moment - what they forget (4.66 / 3) (#63)
    by suzieg on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 08:01:46 AM EST
    to add is that they cannot find workers who will work for peanuts! Have you spoken to any teenagers who tried to get a summer job this year?

    My nephews could not find work this summer, was even told by one agency that employers wanted "Mexicans only" because most of the supervisors could not speak English and unless my nephews spoke Spanish, they could not find them work!


    The party of Roosevelt has an answer (none / 0) (#64)
    by Rojas on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 08:42:48 AM EST
    to this dilema. Once again Uncle Sam is in a hell of a jam.
    And it's one - two - three what are we fighting for....

    Our votes (none / 0) (#101)
    by tek on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:01:22 PM EST
    teenage children also had trouble finding jobs.

    It is called a bad economy (none / 0) (#113)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 02:55:03 PM EST
    It is always easy to blame immigrant workers.

    It happens.... (none / 0) (#131)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 07:38:43 PM EST
    I've been to a few street corner hiring sites in my day, in NY if you didn't speak Spanish (or Chinese or Korean on occasion) you got arsed out sometimes.  You really had to hustle if you wanted to work...for pretty much peanuts.  

    Yet I never felt the urge to kick the guy next to me.  Out hustle him, sure...but not kick him or cry foul.


    Anyone (none / 0) (#100)
    by tek on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:59:54 PM EST
    who believes that millions of Hispanic gang members aren't coming across our borders and increasing crime levels all over the U. S. just isn't paying attention.  Maybe Democrats would get elected if they would learn to be realistic about creating a just, equal, humane society.  You can't do that by throwing the law out the window.  

    If the immigration laws are bad, Congress should change them.  It would be very easy because the corporations who want illegal workers own Congress so all they have to do is ask.

    It hasn't happened because the business community WANTS illegals.  Illegals have no rights and they can be abused.

    Corporations don't care about the larger society the rest of us have to live in.  The illegal people coming in here don't care about it either.  Even with elevated crime levels it's better than Mexico and the other Latin countries they left.  

    So, it's mostly a loser for Americans.  Get used to a lower quality of life and learn to shoot straight, I guess.

    "Millions" of gang members? (none / 0) (#114)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 03:01:20 PM EST
    Do you have any stats at all to support that....

    Scapegoatting Latinos doesn't make the world better.

    "The illegal people coming in here don't care about it either."  I disagree--they do care....and are, on the whole, nicer people than the average person here already.  The reason for that is that, on the whole, they come to work to support their families. You labor under some pretty nasty stereotyping....



    Dark side of illegal immigration (none / 0) (#136)
    by Lora on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:59:26 AM EST
    This is part of the seamy underside of illegal immigration: systematic rape of women.