Cut off the welfare checks and today's unemployed will be Tom Joads, harvesting whatever in order to eat.
By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Santiago Gonzalez walks through his watermelon fields on an overcast morning in May, surveying the crops. Some of the melons are bright green; others still have a yellowish tinge. The lifelong West Valley farmer reaches down for one, splits it open with a pocket knife, and cuts a chunk from the center. The red, juicy melon melts in his mouth. It's sweet, but he knows it could be sweeter. And his trained eye knows the rind will get even brighter. He's still a few weeks from harvest.
It seems unlikely that the tough desert land near Phoenix could yield such nutrient-rich and delicate produce as watermelons, strawberries, tomatoes, and peaches. And yet it does.
From arugula to zucchini, farms produce dozens of varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables in Arizona, one of the few places where farmers can plant and harvest year-round.
Watermelons require at least three months of reliably hot weather to ripen. And what does Arizona have, if not reliable heat?
Arizona farmers produced almost 230 million pounds of watermelons last year, netting nearly $29 million in sales of the sweet but demanding fruit.
It starts in Gonzalez's fields as a small plant bearing a watermelon as tiny as your thumbnail. His workers plant on a mound of dirt to keep the plant's large, lobed leaves dry and free of fungus. The plant requires a lot of water, and just as much sun. The vines want to sprawl across the fields, tangling themselves as they stretch toward neighboring plants. Caretakers painstakingly untangle and tuck the vines and unripened melons back on the mound to protect them from the farming equipment that travels up and down the rows.
As labor-intensive as they are to grow, Gonzalez enjoys planting watermelons year after year. But even in a good year, he says, there isn't a lot of money to be made.
"It's not about the money," he says. "It's about the satisfaction of doing things your way. It's about creating jobs for people. My dad would always say that it wasn't about being rich, it was about living rich."
That's relatively easy for Gonzalez to say. He makes a good living as a farmer, raising potatoes, onions, alfalfa, and watermelons on 3,330 acres. Santiago and his family also own a farm in the Mexican state of Jalisco, where they grow agaves for their own line of tequila, 3 Amigos Tequila.
He considers the watermelons part of his farming family. And when it comes to raising watermelon, it takes a village. So, when his steady farm workers told him that they wanted to take Sundays off, he agreed, but he wasn't happy about it.
"What people don't always understand is that these are living beings," he says of his crops. "If you have a family, you're going to feed them and give them something to drink on Sunday. If you have animals, you can't say, 'I wanna take Sunday off,' and not take care of them. These are living plants, too, that need care."
And as family often can, the plants cause him heartache and stress.
Gonzalez lost half of his crop of watermelons this season to an underground fungus, and his farming business isn't likely to break even on the crop. His potatoes and alfalfa fields produced healthy, plentiful crops, which he hopes will help offset the losses.
Among the dozens of other fruits and vegetables raised in Arizona, potatoes are not as difficult to harvest because most of the heavy lifting is done with machines. Fewer workers mean fewer expenses.
Huge spiral blades cut into the ground to unearth the brown potatoes. But many other crops, like the watermelon, still require the care that can be delivered only by human hands — most of which belong to undocumented immigrants.
Those foreign-born hands also are busy in Yuma, a top producer of another crop that requires gentle handling: lettuce. Warm temperatures allow farmers to work with lettuce almost every month of the year — either planting or harvesting the greens, which are in season from November to May.
You might be surprised to know that Arizona is the nation's second-largest producer of head lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and lemons. Or that the state ranks third in the country in tangerine production.
Those numbers won't remain so impressive if labor woes continue. Laws in this state and across the country aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration are one of the reasons for the shrinking pool of field hands willing to perform the delicate yet back-breaking work.
While those measures don't aim to shutter farms, they certainly hit at the heart of an industry that relies on a workforce of mostly undocumented immigrants for seasonal harvesting.
American workers aren't stepping in to fill the void, even at a time when nearly 14 million people across the country are unemployed. That's because native-born Americans are generations removed from harvesting fields and tend to have higher educational levels.
Simply put, they aren't willing to pick crops.
Maria Machuca, a spokeswoman for the United Farm Workers in Washington, D.C., says hard labor in the fields isn't going to attract legal residents or native-born Americans who have other options that, for some, include waiting out a bad economy at home by collecting unemployment checks.
Cut off the welfare checks and today's unemployed will be Tom Joads, harvesting whatever in order to eat.
orale, white trash get to work, isn't what you mofo's wanted,, ""immigrants are coming to our country and steal our jobs"" now no immigrants,,,,,,,,,,,,,,GET TO WORK
If a federal living wage mandatory,then you'd see we don't need any foreigners in our country.NO WAGE SLAVERY!Fix your own damn society,you foreigner/scab!
Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper Entry by Alien," any citizen of any country other than the United States who:
Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or
Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or
Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime.
Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.
I do not think it as a mistake to remove illegal’s from America. What our labor problem is, America has grown lazy with allowing immigrants to work our farms and orchards. It has taken much away from local farmers and their communities by not teaching our children to work hard and learn the benefits from getting back to basics. If we put the 4H clubs back into school, and helped our local farmers, our economy and labor problems would soon turn for the best. It is not up to our government to provide us jobs, we can create community jobs and form community greenhouses and farms to sustain smaller communities and team with larger ones and share the growth. Support your community, get off your butt and help your neighbor. Soon money will be there to payout.
elect Ron Paul, he has the solutions that is best for all involved. Dems don't like him, Reps don't like him, find out why. Hint, he has them solutions.
If the 12,000,000 plus illegal immigrants had a political leaning towards the conservative republicans would the pro illegal immigrants group still help with amnesty? I don't think so.
It is just a matter of time till we see the effects of living in a prejudice society. Maybe when the lack of produce hits home and there pocket book they will see how big a mistake they made.
Who are we going to allow to cross the border illegally to do the jobs that Mexican illegal immigrants won't do?
The 12 million illegals didn't disappear. They just moved up to service industry jobs. Now I have to speak Spanish to order lunch.
Well now here is the big opportunity for unemployed U.S. citizens. What? Watermelons are to heavy and hard to work with? Oh. But I thought you wanted to work. Arizona needs you or it will fall to reality again. Don't want those immigrants filling in the space do you? Or should we just let the melons rot in the field and shame on the farmer for trying?
Sounds to me like you may well be onto something dude.www.anon-vpn.us.tc
MAYBE if all the Mexican laborers were not working at Burger King, McDonalds, Walmart or other fast food place or store THERE would be more laborers to work in the fields. That just goes to show that the employers are NOT E VERYING people they hire. Even JC Penneys has undoucumented workers working for them, they can't even speak or understand English but there they are working in the store and when you ask them for assistance and THEY can't understand you, very quickly a english speaking person comes to their aid. Employers will not hire U.S. citizens but they are quick to hire UNDOCUMENTED Illens to work for them. I'm so sick and tired of see people appear on tv saying that there are not enought Mexican laborers to work in the fields....Here is a hint look for then at Jack in the Box, McDonalds,Burger King etc....
What a racist crock of shit this article is. Mexican labors. Please. What about polish or Irish laborers. You fucking beans think you are the only people who ever grew and picked their own food? Get real. If it weren't for the spainards fucking the whore native Indians you mexis wouldnt exist.
Listen, American idiots are used to picking crops because they are spoiled brats thanks to stupid parents and mainstream media. Every stupid kid nowadays knows nothing more than playstation, American idol and Justin bieber.
The parents need to turn that shit off and teach their kid how to make a life for themselves. The schools aren't going to teach them. Schools today are nothing more than indoctrination farms, creating herds of brain dead sheep.
I have nothing against mexicans wanting to come here for a better life, even though they are too coward to stay in Mexico and fight to make it a better place, but they need to come here LEGALLY. They need to pay taxes like my mother and father do, like my grandmother and grandfather did.
Taxes is what helped to build the USA strong. People migrating here LEGALLY and becoming US citizens.
These illegals today are not immigrants, they are invaders who sneak here, and then steal identities and leech off of taxpayers.
Boo fucking hoo about your shortage of mexi laborers. I'll grow and pick my own food. It will probably be far better than that shit the assho,e FDA passes too, what with all that gmo and cloned manufactured shit they are allowing people to eat.
Ps fuck the nwo. And fuck illegals. Illegal is not a race, it is a crime.
why is it always about picking crops. What about construction. GO to any construction site today and count how many white, black, or Asian Americans you will see. Not many because as a certified electrician I will not work for $12 an hour when I should be paid about 17-18 an hour but illegals will work for 12. So they get the job. With millions of Americans out of work I am all for any anti-illegal immigration laws. My kids will not grow up speaking Spanish that is for sure.
Correct. Imagine living in a country, where you have paid taxes, your parents have paid taxes, and possibly your grandparents and greatgrandparents. Then millions of foregin nationals, are allowed to take up residence, doing not only farming, but every type of service and blue collar job Americans used to do at a living wage. But the foregin nationals are doing the jobs cheaper and the democrat party,(party of the unions) supports them fully. Then, imagine that these corporations decide that since there are now millions of these foreign natioanls here, it would be better to hire people that speak their language. Well, that nation is now called the United States of America. What would Mexicans, in Mexico, for example, feel if this were happening in Mexico? Yet on this and many thousands of blogs sites in the U.S. the whole idea is thought to be "just fine."
The more interesting question is Why are their no Mexicans willing to do this. There isn't any shortage of them hanging around at the Home Depots, Construction outfits, nursuries roofing companies,etc.
The border can't be "secured", deaths can't be prevented but the more "secure" the border is the more migrant workers who die without a reasonable migrant worker guest program.
Employers aren't permitted to ask if you are a US citizen and the notion that "Employers will not hire US citizens" is absurd. If you are having trouble finding a job it has nothing to do with your citizenship.
BTW, just because someone is brown and speaks Spanish doesn't mean they are in the country illegally.
So excellently said, but it will fall on the deaf ears of most of those posting here. You see, that think everything's about picking vegetables in the hot sun. No it isn't. It's about merging the U.S. with one of the most corrupt nations in the world, Mexico, and forcing wages down to the bare minimum. That is exactly why JC Penneys, and every other company imaginable tries to use cheap bottom line illegal labor. The stupid fools on this blog don't care or possibly even realize, that Americans fought a long and bitter fight, a long time ago, to establish unions and good pay and some basic rights. Yet, all they talk about here are the rights of the "undocumented" that are being used to take away the rights of Americans. Clueless!
So if a person does not speak english they are illegal immigrants? WOW! INCREDIBLE!
I did not realized all those spouces brought to the US by service men and women from overseas that speak very little or no english were illegals; And those children born IN the United States and taken to other countries at an early age so they grow up learn another language and later want to return the the country they were born in as adults were also ILLEGALS!
WE NEED TO ROUND UP EVERY PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY THAT DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH AND DEPORT THEM NOW! THEY ARE ILLEGALS AND HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE HERE! DEPORT THEM! DEPORT THEM I TELL YOU!
So where are those Polish and Irish laborers? How do you think all those houses in Arizona got built during the housing boom? Stop demanding and consuming the goods and services produced by illegal aliens and/or increase the number of immigration visas for the workers that come/stay here illegally to produce the goods and services that we demand and consume.
You are really dumb, and you right we Mexicans may be invaders but it is not different from what your ancestor did DUMB.
Taxes are what helped build the USA strong?
Interesting, when do you think the Federal income tax came into existence? And do you really think that people who earn < $20K/yr pay income taxes?
Do you know what it took for the Irish and Poles to legally migrate to the US? They had to show up and sign their name. That's was it. Joe Arpaio's parents hopped on a tramp streamer without a visa or a passport or the prior permission of the United States and showed up in the US.
Illegal immigration isn't the problem you and your fellow uneducated red neck goobers want to pretend it is.
No one is dying in Mexico, and if they are it hasn't the slightest thing to do with the average American citizen who has to put up with millions of foreign nationals commiting every type of crime and fraud imaginable.
Adrian, I would have to disagree, the Mexicans are not invaders, they colonized, mapped and settled this land before any of us got here and robbed them of their land, and by us I mean any Europeans, or European descendants. That would be like telling Native Americans "get out of America, you dont belong here".
Yes, and those immigrants you mentioned, the Irish and Poles, followed the laws and rules of immigration to the USA at that time period.
But we are not talking about 80 or 100 years ago, as you very well know. We are talking about RIGHT NOW, and guess what Marcy? Poles and Irish have to jump through ALL sorts of hoops to try to emigrate to the USA. So why should Mexicans be treated any different? Are you racist or something?
Marcy in the USA we live like civilized people thanks to income tax, sales tax and property tax.
See, public services such as police and fire department, water, sewage, traffic signals, roads, parks, street lamps, bus service, libraries, recycling/garbage, all cost money. These services are not free.
Yes before income tax was implemented people were still taxed, just differently.
Yes, long ago when I jade 20k per year I still had income tax taken out of my paycheck. I worked at a subway when I was 16, almost 20 years ago. I remember, I made minimum wage which was about 6.75 an hour. At part time, since I was still in high school, I remember my paychecks being about 175-200 every couple weeks. Guess what, they took income tax out.
You are mistaken. I am not the problem. I follow the laws of this land, which is the united states of America.
The people who are the problem are you and your roach friends who think the laws don't apply to them. This includes congress who are usurping their constituents. Do you know what that word means or is it above your Mexican educated head? Constituents = taxpayers. Congress works for taxpayers. Mayors work for taxpayers. The president and government work for taxpayers. We pay their salaries. In a republic the citizens are the government.
The USA is a republic. You ever heard the pledge of alliegence? "...to the republic for which it stands...".
What happens If I sneak into Mexico? Tell me. What happens you fucking ignorant cunt?
You want to see mexican lawless culture? Google 53 killed in Monterrey when drug cartel lit a casino on fire.
Well thank god. 53 less roaches to invade and leech off of US taxpayers.
Illegal is not a race, it is a crime.
Anyone who is here illegally, Mexican, polish, Irish, Bosnian, Muslim, Chinese, get the fuck out. Go back to where you came from and come back LEGALLY. Follow our fucking laws.
"Even JC Penneys has ***undoucumented workers*** working for them, they can't even speak or understand English"
"Employers will not hire U.S. citizens but they are quick to hire ***UNDOCUMENTED Illens (sic)*** to work for them"
You need to go back to school and brush up on your reading comprehension skills.
"Understand something" Bobby, I am not "PRO" Illegal immigration, my ONLY consern here is the Rights of Americans and the Rights of ALL mankind in general, get it through your thick fucking skull, I AM NOT PRO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, BUT I AM AGAINST CORRUPT SHERIFFS, CORRUPT SENATE PRESIDENTS, AND CORRUPT GOVERNORS. and against any law enforcement officer or agency that thinks they are above the law because they have a badge. Is that so fucking hard to understand?
I DO NOT, I REPEAT, I DO FUCKING NOT justify violation of Civil Rights of American Citizens ( FELONY ) to catch 1 undocumented worker ( CIVIL MISDEAMEANOR ) as the so called Sheriff did in his last raid. Get it trough your fucking skull numbnuts.
Understand something folks, it's easy to see that although this fellow gives himself the name US War Veteran, his message is totally incongruent. He is fighting for some other cause that isn't American. Case closed. The scary part is 5 people agree with him and knowning this liberal blog, I woudln't doubt it's more like 500. Yes, this country is polarized. But not like the left would like to paint it good Americans vs. nativists, as US War Veteran constantly does. I would say it's traitors vs. patriots, I'll leave it to people with insight to determine who is who.
Stating facts that all, something you seem to have a problem with, but I do realize "facts" do not play a part in your fantasy world.
I find it very interresting that you mention "anchor babies" and "propaganda" in the same post, at least you didn't put it in the same sentence. I dont know why but I just want to say "hypocrite" over and over again, now I can't get that word out of my mind. Damn the bad luck.
I surprised you are making taxes such a big part of your argument, I am not defending illegal immigration but I should tell you, even illegal immigrants pay taxes, they pay taxes on absolutely everything they buy, from food, clothes, tools, gas, to cars and houses (rent or own it doesn't matter). they also pay income tax, how you ask? simple, their employers have to pay taxes, they are not going to pull that out of their pockets so they withold that from their employees, the difference now between you and I and illegal immigrants is that while you and I can file an income tax return and include our expenses on it to get some of that money back, illegal immigrants can not file returns, so the State and Federal Governments keep all that money collected, so ultimately they pay as much if not more than us.
"They don't earn enough to pay income taxes and if they aren't in the country legally the pay Social Security taxes but aren't eligible to collect benefits."
No, but their anchor baby children ARE eligible to collect benefits. You can see this all day every day if you know anyone involved in PHX social services. Just ask them. "American" (lol) kids are eligible for poverty assistance, no matter if their parents are illegals or not. And aid checks do not get addressed to children, they get addressed to guardians which means, yes...you guessed it: illegals can and do get 'government checks' all the time.
But then you probably already knew that, but typically don't want to ever bring that up because it doesn't help your amnesty case and throws an ugly light on your political propaganda.
BTW, you are obviously delusional if you think minimum wage was $6.75/hr "almost 20 years ago". It is $7.35/hr in Arizona today. 20 years ago was 1991 and minimum wage was $4.25/hr.
You sound upset and angry, get some anger therapy.
This is about changing to laws back to something that was working before racist dimwits like you demanded the laws governing guest labor be changed in the misguided belief that farm workers from Mexico were taking jobs from Americans.
I used to wander down to Mexico all the time, no paperwork, no visa, no passport, I just walked across the border. No problem and nobody hassling me. I travel frequently to other countries, most recently I was in another country for three weeks and rarely carried a single shred of ID. Left my passports in my safe in my apartment, no need for a driver's license since I wasn't driving, just took some money and a single debit card. Nobody was going to lock me up.
But you just keep that fire burning in your fevered imagination about immigrants being an awful problem in the US when the reality is far different.
Farm workers, legal or not, pay Social Security taxes, sales taxes and every other tax you mentioned. They don't earn enough to pay income taxes and if they aren't in the country legally the pay Social Security taxes but aren't eligible to collect benefits.
I'm quite familiar with what American demand for illegal drugs has done to Mexico.
Long ago $20K/yr was real money, now it isn't and people who make $20k/yr don't pay Federal income taxes. In fact about HALF of all LEGAL US residents who filed income tax returns paid ZERO federal income taxes.
Working hard in the farm fields isn't the definition of a leech honey. You sitting home on your couch collecting unemployment is.