8/6/07

150) Undocumented Workers Antithesis of Steelhead Trout

Aug 4, 2007
Saturday

El Milagro:
I was invited to come in at 1 today, which was great, since Liz and I just told 6 people to bring 15 of their relations to dinner tonight and Liz will hafta do the prep work cause I’m getting my blood cleaned. I will get home just in time to crank up the NBBD grill and barbecue chicken, steelhead trout*, and shrimp kabobs.

Herman cannulated me and we discussed friends visiting from out of town and using maids now (to make our places hospitable) and in the past in El Paso / Fabens. Also we agreed about how all these folks who are screaming about stopping the ‘illegal aliens’ because ‘they take our jobs’ don’t get how this part of the population is necessary for the dominant culture’s comfort, as well as not understanding the argument about the jobs in question. After all, how many of the ‘unemployed’ people listed at the Employment Commission would rush out to clean hotel rooms, work the fields, wash dishes, or do bone-wrecking manual labor for the kinds of wages the ‘illegals’ work for. In just the farm-worker arena, a 1996 article predicted the “…prices of fresh fruits and vegetables (would raise) by about 6 percent in the short run…” if we shut the valve on undocumented workers.** Do we want higher prices as a trade for corking the border? Do we want to discontinue centuries of a foundation work force that props up the American Dream? We as a society have always scorned this part of the labor force, but we historically understood how they fit in and we turned our heads as they worked their way up the ladder from menial to semi-skilled to skilled labor and built their own communities and melded into the American Way. We in the dominant culture paid them a miserable wage because we could (they had to accept anything thrown their way). With the cinching up of the border belt, these folks (the illegals and their employers) will slip further into the underground economy*** to survive. And survive they will… as they have since the beginning of this great country.

The neo-conservative faction of the government and their cronies would have you believe that this isn’t the case as they work to restore “integrity to our immigration system and secure America’s borders”****. Actually this is all a sleight of hand move: misdirecting us from the substantial issues of national security in the post 9/11 era; like randomly checking all those huge shipping crates being floated into our harbors or the convoluted way of tracking people already identified as dangerous. No… they’d rather you pay attention to the poor undocumented workers looking for an honest day’s work in the land of promise. The sleight of hand moves actually drive folks who simply want a break to illegal and nefarious dealings. Meanwhile, many of the neo-con’s supporters who own large agri-business corporations, the hotel industry, and the garment industries will continue to use undocumented workers in ever more disparaging ways that will simply be more obscured. And the more surface level use of ‘illegals’ will fade away and those jobs will finally go to people who will work half as hard, do a mediocre job, and get paid three times as much money. It makes me mad!

I say, let ‘em all in to chase the American Dream; give ‘em all “green cards”, but change the color to peach. Peach has a less demeaning connotation, emphasizes a new beginning, and sounds cool: “I got my peach card” he said. “Well, that’s just peachy!” Let’s see, in Spanish that would be, “Consegu√≠ mi tarjeta del melocot√≥n”. Now that really doesn’t sound bad, does it? (Looking for a comment from my Mexican friends here --> agree? disagree?)

I mean…” (said like Arlo, dragging out that ‘eeeeen’)… “I meeeeeeeeen… when the border patrol stops those boys out on a desert road somewhere in the Socorro…. ….they pulls ‘em up and says… ‘Now straighten up boy! We gotcha and now we’re gonna give ya a ride into town, a hot meal, and yer very own Peach Card. ….Whaddaya say to that Mijito? Welcome to the Promised Land. Now hop on in and let’s skidaddle.” Wouldn’t that be grand?

Oh yeah. And this idea about charging a fee to these folks to enter our country and take jobs no one wants anyway is just ridiculous. If we want to charge someone, let’s charge foreigners with Master’s Degrees coming in. They can get their Fortune 100 Companies to spot ‘em the bucks for that. And let’s use that money to improve our miserable inner city schools that youth are leaving in response to inadequate and antiquated policies and curriula. I could go on and on, cause I seem to be on a tirade now. Calmase Juaquin! Whew.

Okay, so once hooked up, I listened to Folkways and then Live Set with the Austin Lounge Lizards and then turn on the news. The woman next to me has bad cramping somewhere during this time and they take her off early and talk to her about massaging and moving her legs. I wanted Herman to go over and actually help her by holding her feet, but he was busy in another sector. He can’t be everywhere at once.

Well, that’s about it from the brain of Jack. And so it goes.

Notes: In at 73.4 and out at 72.7 Kgs.
* Rainbow Trout retrieved August 2007 from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_trout
** Huffman, W. * McCunn, A. How much Is that tomato in the window? Retail produce prices without illegal farmworkers. Retrieved August 2007 from The Center for Immigration Studies website:
http://www.cis.org/articles/1996/back296.htm
*** Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi (2006) Off the books: The underground economy of the urban poor. Cambridge, MA:, Havard University Press. Retrieved online July 2007 from
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/VENOFF.html
**** Border security and immigration reform. Retrieved online from the website of John Cornyn, US Senator,
http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/

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