Monday, March 18, 2013

Yuma - Some Thoughts...

Some of you might just want to look at the photos and ignore the rest, because I'm going to vent for a bit. If you do comment and it's just about the photos, I understand. 

The very south western portion of Arizona and the south eastern portion of California have a lot in common. The area is the largest producer of winter vegetables in the world and provides over 90% of the winter vegetables eaten in the United States.  One other thing they share is that almost all of the work is done by migrant Hispanics. I have no way of knowing who is here legally and who is not, but I do know that many of them cross the border legally everyday to come to work. 


Something else I know is that there aren't enough people to work the fields. This area (and many others) have actually had to cut back on the number of acres planted at any given time because of manpower shortages. The local folks don't want to do it, the non-Hispanics don't want to do it and there just aren't any white migrant workers any more. 


Yuma is so close to the border that it seems to have fewer manpower problems than agricultural areas in other parts of the country. Based on what I've seen, read and heard, the migrants here usually fall into one of four categories. 



  1. Illegal workers who have a pass to cross the border for shopping, visiting relatives, medical care, etc. They are here legally, but they are prohibited from working here.
  2. Workers who have snuck* into the country and are totally illegal and undocumented.  
  3. Documented workers who are usually middle aged, legally in the U.S. and work in the fields for a living. The children of these folks, just like most other Americans, have exactly ZERO desire to work in the fields like their parents.  
  4. Legal workers who have obtained a work visa to temporarily work in this country.  These workers are bound to the company who petitioned the government for temporary help.

Oh yeah, these folks don't just work, they bust their humps every day in brutal conditions. Long hours, low pay, pesticides, various other chemicals, back breaking work and the realization that they are at the absolute bottom of the economic totem pole in a multi-billion dollar industry. 

At first glance it looks like the company at least gives them some shade to work in, but It isn't exactly what it looks like. That contraption giving them some shade (if they're lucky) is MOVING and it doesn't stop.  I've worked a lot of jobs in my life. Many of them involved VERY hard work. I've spent a lot of time watching these folks and there are middle aged ladies in this group who could work me into the ground on my best day. 


The thing that struck me the most (and not in a good way) is that the unemployment percentage in the Yuma area is almost 30%! It doesn't make a lot of sense to me that they don't require some of the recipients of unemployment benefits to take those jobs. I especially don't understand it when I think about the Arizona state stance on the subject.   I've heard people say more than a few times, that "those people are taking our jobs!"  Maybe it's just me, but I've NEVER heard any parents that I know say, "I sure hope Junior grows up to be a field worker."  I'm not trying to make a political statement here, but I live in southern California and as you know I spend a lot of time traveling around the southwestern part of the country.  In most of these areas; if all the illegal/undocumented immigrants (from Mexico alone) were sent packing. Our economy would grind to an immediate halt.  The state of Arizona estimates that about 10% of their TOTAL workforce is made up of illegal aliens. Some folks there are also quick to point out that the percentage of unemployed Arizonan citizens is about 9% and simply removing the illegals would solve the unemployment problem.  Seriously? 



Just one more little issue that bugs me. At one time, this house belonged to a farm owner. This sight can be seen all over our country. Do you think the huge corporate farms that either bought, or forced out the small farmers have even the slightest problem hiring illegal immigrants who go there for work? I don't think they care in the slightest. I'm sure that some of them would probably like to import Chinese slave labor and make even larger profits.  

I'm not sure if I've ever ventured into political waters before on this blog and I don't mean to do so now. I KNOW there are huge problems with our immigration policies and enforcement, but I don't think either political party in this country really and truly even thinks it's a problem. If it was, they would have fixed it years ago.  Most of these folks come here for some of the same reasons our ancestors did. It's the land of opportunity.  Most of them are dedicated family folks, who just want their families to survive.  If you've ever been to Mexico, you know what I'm talking about. Poor, totally corrupt and full of people that are desperately poor.  

----------------------------------------------

*"Snuck."  I know this is one of those modern day words that has made it's way into our dictionaries and many folks shiver every time they see it in a sentence. It's kind of like starting a sentence with a conjunction. Things have changed...


.

55 comments:

The Geezers said...

I wholeheartedly agree. At certain times of year, Minnesota has lots of migrant workers who work the fields of the big Green Giant and Del Monte vegetable fields. Immigration services storms in occasionally to do their thing, resulting in severe economic hardship for the area, as nobody else wants to do this work.

And in my office, some of the people who complain about hispanic workers seem oblivious to the fact that these are the folks cleaning their offices late at night and preparing their meals.

trav4adventures said...

Pat, I hear you. My parents (I'm a teacher) mostly work in the fields. They are constantly exposed to pesticides. They have them in their hair, clothes, and shoes. Then, they come home to their families, babies, and kids. No wonder these kids can't sit still in class! They fidget, they can't focus or pay attention, or remember facts. I have to go OVER and OVER simple things CONSTANTLY. And, yes, it is hard work! I remember one time I stopped at a cotton field on my way to school out by Mecca to look at the open bud. I pulled it, didn't realize there was a huge THORN inside, and cut my hand. Our vice principal's parents were farm workers and one time when she was younger, she gave her father some "lip". He made her work out in the fields 1 day. That convinced her to go back to school (she ended up going to UCLA) and getting her college degree!!! It IS a very hard life.

sage said...

Good post, Pat! We often don't realize how many live to support our habits and the demise of the smaller farms for corporate farms is a sin, if not a crime.

Shelly said...

We have the same situation here in my part of the world, and I could jump on a soapbox right with you. I just have to think that there will be a day of comeupance, both for the good and the bad.

mshatch said...

I think some people want to fix the immigration problem but unfortunately those that do can't agree on how, just like they can't agree on anything else because they're a bunch of useless dinks getting paid for doing nothing. And I'm talking about pretty much the entire bunch because the truth is they could get everything done that they wanted if they would just grow up and act like adults.

Also, I think part of the reason no one wants those jobs is because they pay crap and have no benefits. I don't mind working hard if I'm going to get paid for it but why should I break my already broken back for minimum wage?

sorry for the long response, but you did open the can...

mshatch said...

I think some people want to fix the immigration problem but unfortunately those that do can't agree on how, just like they can't agree on anything else because they're a bunch of useless dinks getting paid for doing nothing. And I'm talking about pretty much the entire bunch because the truth is they could get everything done that they wanted if they would just grow up and act like adults.

Also, I think part of the reason no one wants those jobs is because they pay crap and have no benefits. I don't mind working hard if I'm going to get paid for it but why should I break my already broken back for minimum wage?

sorry for the long response, but you did open the can...

Kitty Moore said...

Perfectly understandable rant.. and great photos!

Dawn said...

I completely agree! A good and thoughtful rant Pat!

Gingerspark said...

We've got a large agricultural industry here too - same problem. No one wants the jobs. We're paying out record unemployment, but no one wants the "hard" jobs.

There are no easy solutions to these problems... more North Americans need to "get back in touch with the food chain" - too many live in cities where they are removed from where their food comes from and how much effort it is to get it to their supermarkets.

Pat Tillett said...

The Geezers - Some of those migrants in Minnesota might be working down here during the winter. A while back, the NY Times reported that at least 20% of ALL restaurant cooks, head cooks and chefs are illegal Mexican immigrants. When the number of them who here legally is added, it is much higher. I'm betting that the percentage is MUCH higher where I live (SoCal).

trav4adventures - I've read a lot about the exposure of farm workers to pesticides and other chemicals. It seems that they have many health problems as a result of what they do. In the Yuma area, the crop dusters fly at night. People told us that it is common to smell and actually feel the chemicals landing on you. While that didn't happen to us, it did concerned me. I even heard people compaining about the chemicals ruining the paint on their vehicles. These are people who aren't even working in the fields. I shudder to imagine how it affects the health of those who do.

sage - Thanks! Where I live that percentage is amazingly high. Hispanics do almost all the cooking and restaurant jobs (except waiting), they clean almost everywhere, they provide the in-home daycare, they do about 90% of the work for small contractors, they do almost all the gardening, painting, plumbing and labor and the list goes on and on. They are pretty darn good at what they do also.

Shelly - You are right about that. In addition, a lot of the same people doing the yelling are also taking advantage of those folks being here.

mshatch - You are so right! In my eyes, the whole system is broken and many of the idiots on both sides of the aisle, have no inclination to fix it. You are right about the wages. In addition, most people don't want those jobs because the benefits are almost non-existant. Thanks for the comment!

Kitty Moore - Thanks Kitty! I don't usually do that here...

---------------

I guess I should tell everyone that although I'm a registered voter to one of the two major parties, I don't really care how they want me to vote. I'm an "issue specific" voter based on what I think is right. I've thought long and hard about this issue and it is amazingly complex.

Pat Tillett said...

Dawn - Thanks so much Dawn!

Gingerspark - You are so right! The same can be said for some other jobs as well. Fast food jobs fall into that category also (at least where I live). It seems that most of those jobs are now held by Hispanics or retired folks. Fast food places NEVER used to have to advertise for help. They do now...

I totally agree with you about the "food chain." Most people haven't ever actuall even been on a farm.

Sylvia K said...

Thank you SO much for posting this, Pat!! I couldn't agree with you more! I wish I had some answers, but I don't, and, yes, it is indeed a very complex issue. Thanks again! Have a great week!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's sad there's such an unemployment rate when so many jobs are available - just no one wants to do them. Might save our government some cash if those people were told after so many months that they had to take one of those jobs.
And it's a shame big business has taken over those farms.

TheChieftess said...

You are right on Pat...it's obvious that our economy benefits from the work they do...perhaps...do you think politicians might just be resistant to work out a guest worker program because the big farmers don't want to have to deal with health regs and minimum pay rates??? It's a conundrum...because as consumers, we all complain when the prices go up...which is what would happen if the workers were all treated fairly and humanely...so we go about our shopping and look for the bargain, skip the organics because it's too expensive or we don't buy into the organic hype...same goes for the hospitality industry. The flip side of all this is you're right...no one else wants to do these jobs...and instead we're raising a large population who would rather live on the dole rather than work hard for minimum (or less than minimum) wages.
My cousin retired from working for the Assembly here in California after 40 years. He told us that when he first started, the complaints and focus of government were exactly what they are today...nothing has changed...a sad commentary.

Ms. A said...

Unfortunately, your second example is the one I'm most familiar with. That being said, the work done by the ones that do work, is grueling work that most people around here don't want to do. They would rather sit back and complain about being unemployed and let someone else do the work they feel is beneath them.

Great photos!

Brian said...

Great photos Pat! Hey, sometimes ya just gotta rant!

Belle said...

This was a very interesting discussion and I learned a lot. Thanks for bringing it up.

We have large orchards and vineyards here in Kelowna. Our government regulates how much a worker gets and it is a good wage even if it is piece-work. If it is hourly, it must be minimum wage, which is $8.75.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Good post Pat, and good photographs too. These types of problems exist the world over. We have them here too. Illegals working close to slave conditions, while lazy white people sit on the couch, though can't blame them for not wanting to work under those conditions.

It's up to local councils/governments to step in and regulate. But of course, no one really cares, especially as no one wants to pay more for anything, so it either stays this way or we all import everything from India and CHina. Which is still very probable.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Thank you, Pat. We need these reminders of the thousands of people who literally risk their lives daily to give their kids a bit of food. It's deplorable what this country condones in the name of saving money (as Anthony says). I was just reading Belle's comment too. Wow, our minimum wage is only $8 (I think) - less than theirs.

xoRobyn

Betsy Adams said...

OH My---a VERY complex issue. And you are right... Neither party wants to tackle the illegal problem... They say they want to --yet they don't do anything about it.

I have mixed feelings about this issue. I am totally against just letting them all just become citizens. That's not fair to the immigrants who came here legally and have had to go through the system legally. However, since they are here ---we need to start some kind of 'road' to citizenship--even if it takes a long time.. We just need to do something!

The hispanics are the ones who are willing to work those kinds of hard jobs that spoiled Americans don't want to do. But--once even the hispanics are here for awhile, they pick up on the lazy American way of life.

I cannot believe the number of people on unemployment now --for years and years. AND look at the food stamps... On and on and on.. Why would anyone want to work in this country when the Govt. will totally take care of them??????

HELLO---we have a huge problem here!!!! Our country is changing and it scares me to death... We are all losing our freedoms by the Govt. wanting to control more and more of our lives...

OKAY---I'm finished. Complex issue and one with no easy answers coming from our Congress and White House.

Hugs,
Betsy

Pat Tillett said...

Sylvia K - My pleasure Sylvia! Someday, I hope the people in Washington get off of their collective asses and actually try to do something constructive.

Alex - Yep! I agree! I know it's not the kind of work I'd ever want to do, but then again, I'm not on the dole. People can't just expect to get money for doing NOTHING, when work is available.

TheChieftess - I think you hit a good part of it right on the head! It's all about increasing profits by cutting expenses. The impact on the humans working for them, is not a concern anymore. I think I need to be in charge...

Ms. A - You are so right! It's a pretty disgusting situation we've gotten ourselves into. Thanks!

Brian - Thanks Brian! You are right about ranting...

Belle - Thanks Belle and you are welcom. I'm sure many executives would be jumping out of windows if they had to pay that here.

Anthony - Thanks Anthony! That's the whole issue. We gotten much too soft these days. If they could figure out a way to import it more cheaply and make higher profits by doing so, they would import everything... I hate that!

Robyn - My heart really goes out to them. There are plenty of people here willing to take advantage of them. You are right about the minimum wage being $8.00 per hour in California. The National minimum wage is less ($7.25).

Betsy - It sure is complex! Thank you for joining into my rant! You are so right! Maybe we need to annex Mexico. I'm sure somebody there could be bribed into allowing it to happen...

Leovi said...

Very interesting and excellent photos of Yuma.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

We have a lot of migrant landscapers - perfect summer jobs for high school/college kids, but that won't happen because the work is 'too hard'.

Stewart M said...

Good post.

We can spend all day posting pictures of birds, butterflies and even (for some people) our breakfast - and never look at the real world.

We have a similar issue in some agricultural areas with workforce problems. Its not a easy situation.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

PS: Thanks (yet again) for the clutch of comments - lease pass on the link to my wordy blog if you know anybody who would like it - it get less traffic than my photoblog - but I think its better!

Icy BC said...

I have been sitting here, thinking of what to say or not say. You've brought up so many interesting and thought provoking points, but there is no one simple answer to them.

Your photos, however, illustrate a very complex issue and are fantastic!

Powdered Toast Man said...

I'll do the work. Sign me up.

Clarissa Draper said...

The situation makes me so angry as well.

And something else: most Mexicans down here still think that the USA is the promised land. I think it's better to be poor in Mexico where you are near your family and food is cheap than it is to be poor in the US or Canada.

Margaret Benbow said...

Pat, thank you for your very thoughtful post. There's a growing Hispanic population in the county where I grew up, and it's a good thing. They're strong family people, devoted and ambitious for their kids, and work so hard for them. Thank you for your tribute to their values and contribution.

dennis hodgson said...

A really well-argued piece Pat. You should do this more often. Unfortunately, the nasty economic reality is that you can sustain the myth of "cheap food" for consumers (a sure vote-winner for politicians) only by relentlessly grinding down the poor sods at the bottom of the pyramid.

Incidentally, my geography may be a bit hazy, but isn't that part of the US drying out? You won't need me to tell you that the natural climate of the area is semi-arid to desert. Where's the water coming from? If it's from sustainable sources, then I'm a pelican.

By the way, I'm too sensible to actually envy your ability to roam at will among such wonderful scenery, but you know what I mean. Adventure here in Hong Kong is on a much smaller scale, but it can still be a lot of fun. It took me almost two months to compile Journey to the West, but most of that time was out on the bike. Click "TO BE CONTINUED" to get Part 2.

Pat Tillett said...

Leovi - Thanks Leovi!

Woody - You are right! It was a great summer or part time job. I did it myself. At one time the landscaping out here was done by young folks and Japanese. The young folks did the type of job you'd imagine. The Japanese turned in into an art form. Now I'd bet that it's 99.5% Mexicans. They are fast and do a great job. This is southern California, so they are needed all year. There are very few American kids who would put in the effort to even come close to the job that is being done now.

Stewart - I know what you mean! It's much easier and less painful to walk around with our blinders on. Sometimes, I just can't do that.

Icy BC - Thanks so much! I agree, there is no simple answer.

PTM - Okay, we'll start our own buisness.

Clarissa - I know what you mean. I've spoken to a ton of both legal and illegal immigrants here. Many of them agree with what you're saying. However, a lot of them know that coming in and come anyway. They come because they can usually find work! It may be hard, it may not pay much, but its much more than they can make at home. A lot of what they make here they send home to their families. They primarily use the Postal Service's Dinero Seguro program. It's been said that about 2% of Mexico's economy flows into their country via this program. I'd say this fact is one more positive on the side of the Hispanic worker in Amercia. They are hardworking and family oriented...

Margaret - My pleasure Margaret and thank you! I agree with all you said.

Dennis - Thanks Dennis! It seems that my blog has morphed into something primarily related to our time on the road and photography.

That part of the U.S. isn't drying out. It NEVER did have much water. It's desert, but there is a major river running through it and all the water comes from the river and it is sustaninable. That doesn't make you a pelican!

I have a big response to one of your posts about what happened in our last elections relative to pot "legalization." I just haven't been able to get it finished yet. I'll be over!

altadenahiker said...

No argument from me, text or photos. I'm particularly enamored of the b/w's.

Pam ;) said...

Well said and all too true Pat.
Great pics also.

Rosemary Nickerson said...

Pat, I love it when you speak from the heart! Where I live, in Southern Ontario, the tender fruit belt, Mexican workers come to do the jobs nobody else will do. My son at 6'4" lasted one week picking strawberries. Only high school students on summer break will even give these jobs a try. Everyone else on unemployment holds out for something "better" or will resort to welfare before taking a job picking fruit. My grandfather made 25 CENTS A DAY during the depression picking apples to feed his family of 6 children. There was dignity in that. Today, so many have a sense of entitlement that cripples us all. Keep the good posts coming, Pat. The world is changing and people need to hear good sense!
Rosemary

Al Penwasser said...

I believe you and I are of the same mind here. For all the self-righteous talk I sometimes spout, I'm taken aback by thoughts such as yours. Then, I'm not so sure anymore. I know for a fact that I wouldn't want to work in the fields. And that is part of the problem; there are a lot of people like me.
Ditto your stance on putting unemployed to work.
Like all things, there's always another side to an issue.

Al Penwasser said...

Also, like you, I'm reluctant to delve into political talk on my blog. As my "blurb" at Penwasser Place says, I much prefer to laugh. To paraphrase the Joker, "Why be so serious?" :-)

missing moments said...

No easy answers to this problem ... but glad to read your commentary.

Ebie said...

It is quite a complicated issue, which is also the truth. Sometimes, you just have to let out your feelings.

True, no one will ever work in the fields, and let's not even limit this to the fields, but to health care too, especially the CNA's.

P.S. I also enjoyed reading the commentaries.

Pat Tillett said...

altadenahiker - Thanks so much!

Pam - Thanks Pam! It's a sad state of affairs, that's for sure.

Rosemary - Thanks Rosemary! Having good sense is something I haven't always been accused of. I also tried picking strawberries. I made it through the weekend, but didn't go back.

Al - It's scary and confusing stuff! It's not even just fieldwork anymore. It's fast food, it's washing dishes, it's grunt labor, it's mowing lawns, it's nanny work, it's residential maid service, it's hotel maid work, it's working in car washes, etc. The list of things WE won't do, goes on and on and on...

missing moments - Even if there was an easy answer, I'm not sure it would be dealt with. Thanks for your input!

Ebie - Part of it is indeed complicated! However, the simple part that nobody will deal with, is that it's all about protecting profits and keeping food prices low.

Pat Tillett said...

I knew I might touch a nerve or two with this post. I guess it was actually four. That is the number of followers who dropped me this week...

Pearl said...

I agree, unreservedly.

Pearl

Al Penwasser said...

And, one day, somebody will just say, "No."
Then, we'll have a mess on our hands.

Stickup Artist said...

Another excellent piece of photo-journalism. I really enjoyed your commentary and reading the well-thoughtout comments. What a pleasure! I think it all boils down to (in my humble opinion) that ALL people deserve a decent day's pay, a living wage, with benefits and decent working conditions. It's not fair to take advantage of the poorest and give them deplorable renumeration for such hard work. I'd like to see local, family and small farms make a comeback too. I don't know how much longer people will put up with the multi-national "food shenanigans."

Baby Sister said...

So, so, so, so true. The majority of my generation don't want to do the hard work the field work requires. And while I've never worked in a field, I was raised with hard work. Nursery business isn't easy. I feel so bad for these people that break their backs every day and hardly get anything in return, and then the spoiled little white kids won't even help them. It's no wonder we're sometimes looked down on here. I only hope that someday, someone has the power and drive to make the changes that are so necessary.

Jenny said...

Amen, brother.

My husband and I have this raging discussion every single time we drive through that area.

Back in the day I was a farm worker.

Baled hay, picked apples, blah, blah, blah. I usually made a few hundred dollars for the entire summer with which I bought my school clothes.

I wonder who those farms employ now?

And I so agree on the unemployment. If they are not disabled, they should be doing something for their money.

PS. I will totally vote for you for President!

tapirgal said...

Great post, Pat. I see it more as expository journalism than as a political rant. And very well done. I didn't realize less food was being planted for lack of labor, so I learned something. My family made their $$ on wetback labor, and you bet, it's not like anyone in town wanted those jobs.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

And, but, I agree with your 100% ;>).

Totally agree that the "powers that be" have not BEEN there and don't have any idea. The same thing happens in Colorado, a little ways away from what we think of as the Southwest.

All that money Bush et al spent on that wall...and even people have been killed...and yet you know that the rich corporate farmers (who supported him) wanted to keep the cheap labour coming in, so they were just doing it almost as a joke. Such a horrible farce.

Who can fix it?

Pat Tillett said...

Pearl - Thanks Pearl!

Al - You are so right and I guess that's they are all happy to do absolutely nothing...

Stickup Artist - Thanks for the great comment! The thing that just might bug me the most is that as much as we hear about Arizona being hard core on this issue, they clearly are not when it come to agriculture.

Baby Sister - You are so right! There is clearly enough work to go around. In this age of entitlement (not in a political sense) everybody wants to choose what they will and won't do for money. If there is nothing they want, many are more than willing to go on the dole. It's too bad that we seem more than willing to let them do so. That is so wrong, on so many levels...

Jenny - These days, even small farmers and family farms have trouble finding locals who are willing to work even part time in their fields. It seems all level of governments are willing to put the blinders on when it comes to hiring undocumented workers for that work and even have programs that farmers use to request forign workers to help them. Of course these things only apply to the these terrible jobs and not to higher paying jobs in construction, manufacturing, etc. If those higher paying jobs were being taken by migrant type workers, people would be screaming bloody murder. Thanks Jenny!

tapirgal - Thanks so much! You probably know about the subject than most. I think it's been the way it is now since the 1960's. Pretty obvious that despite all the screaming and hollering, nobody in Washington is all that interested...

Sallie - You hit it right on the head Sallie! The amount of hypocracy relative to this issue is AMAZING!

Kato Pandorah's Box said...

It all seems a little unfair. You have people who want to work, so make it easy on them to work! The conditions can be improved upon as well....

Great post!!

James said...

It seems like a big catch 22 to me. With all of the government's rules,regulations and taxes that make it hard for small and family farms. So they get swallowed up by big corporations.

Secondly. If the working conditions and pay get better the jobs would no longer be "jobs that Americans and legal immigrants don't want" and then what for these people? Also it must be worth it to them as is or they wouldn't come over the border. What a mess.

Michelle in the state of WA said...

Great rant Pat!!! I have to agree with alot of what you said...and its a shame what this world is becoming. I have a dreaded fear of what the world will be like for our children and their children.
You need to get your video camera out there on these trips and take some film of these places you visit. Documentaries on these subjects would be great and there might even be an oscar in your future! Take care, :)

Pat Tillett said...

Kato - I totally agree! Too bad we have people who DON'T want to work, but DO want to collect money at the same time. Thanks!

James - It sure is! It's such a mess. Also, a lot of the money these folks make, is sent back to Mexico to support families still living there.

Michelle - Thanks my old friend! It's not a pretty picture, that's for sure. I'll brush up on my Spanglish and do some interviews.

timothy said...

Pat,
I have spent years of vacations in Arizona/Utah and California,for obvious reasons.
Live alone with my dog in Pittsburgh{almost total cloud cover..summer as well}.
I do wonder where American youths are when it comes to labor jobs.My
youth was spent,gladly shoveling cement,picking sugarbeets,coke oven/steel mill/unloading rairoad cars We loved it.
Caucasians in Appalachia are as poor as any mexican...What are the youngsters doing down there{working hard I would bet}Any thoughts.

Pat Tillett said...

Timothy - I hear what you are saying loud and clear. I live in California and spend most of my time in the southwest. I'm from rural Kentucky, and you are right about the terrible conditions in some areas back there.

Unless they are growing up on a working farm or ranch, I don't think that most parents want their kids EVER working in the fields, in a factory, or unloading anything. They want them working in a mall or someplace like that. I remember when almost all the people working in fast food were kids working part time. Now, it's most adults because they need the jobs. I spend a ton of time around agricultural areas and I NEVER see white kids working in the fields. I don't think most of them work at all. There aren't any white adults working out there either. Personally, I think all kids should have part time jobs as soon as they are old enough. I've worked my entire life and started very young. All of our five kids worked part-time while going to high school.

Anonymous said...

When I first started reading this post, I wasn't sure which way your rant was going to go. I'm glad to see that you're compassionate about our migrant farm workers, documented or not. I can't imagine what some of them go through to provide for their families. I recently started supporting the humanitarian group Border Angels in San Diego, and I've learned a lot from them! Great post. Oh! One thing: You might want to consider using the term "undocumented" instead of "illegal." No human being should be thought of as illegal. :)

Sincerely,
Princess

Pat Tillett said...

Princess - Thanks Princess! I'm glad we agree about the people themselves. I don't agree with your last point though.

Calling someone "undocumented" implies that we have an open border and that they didn't break our laws by crossing that border.
Technically they are here illegally. In my humble opinion, the use of the term "undocumented" is part of an effort to soften the crime of crossing our borders illegally. I'm not saying, I want them arrested and deported. I just don't agree with the word games.

None of what I just said, changes how I feel about them though.