Immigration's Katrina?

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Thanks to Potter for pitching this show.

On Sunday afternoon, in the basement of Our Lady of Guadalupe in New Bedford, I saw first-hand the pain and suffering of the families and community ripped apart by the actions of the Department of Homeland Security . . . Wives were desperately searching for information about their husbands. One father tearfully described the agony and sleeplessness of his young children who couldn’t understand why their mother had disappeared. Shock, confusion and despair were the order of the day. I was reminded of the tragedy and human suffering that we all witnessed after the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina. Such human tragedy is heartbreaking when it is caused by a natural disaster. But when it is the product of a government agency’s failures, it is utterly unconscionable.

Senator Edward Kennedy, in an Op-ed in The New Bedford Standard Times, March 13, 2007.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a leather goods factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts last week, arresting 361 illegal immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador and sending over 200 of them to detention centers in Texas en route to deportation. For ICE, this raid was standard operating procedure. A year ago, it arrested over 1000 illegal employees of a pallet factory, and in December it collared more than 1200 workers at a meatpacking company.

Boston immigration rally

Suddenly a Massachusetts issue? [andycarvin / Flickr]

But for Massachusetts, the New Bedford raid is becoming a scandal. Maybe it’s because the workers were denied overtime, docked 15 minutes of pay for every minute they were late and fined for talking on the job, of for spening more than two minutes in the plant’s bathroom. Maybe it’s because the wealthy owner of the factory posted bail and reopened its doors on the same day that his workers were being deported. Maybe it’s because the illegal immigrants had been hard at work manufacturing products for the US military and high-end retailers like Coach. Or maybe it’s because the Feds split up families, sending mothers to Texas and children to Miami.. Whatever the reason, ICE’s routine raid has become a PR nightmare for the embattled agency.

Two days after the raid, a judge ordered ICE to cease processing the detainees out of state and demanded that the agency ensure that all children were protected. Since that order, local politicians, social service organizations, and advocacy groups have pounded ICE, accusing it of everything from being “inept” to “misrepresenting reality” to causing an “humanitarian crisis“.

Since we’re based in Massachusetts, it seems to us as if the roof is falling in on our immigration system. How is it that a factory employing nearly 500 people could set up shop and hire illegals and exploit them in an American city that has high unemployment, high poverty and high dropout rates? Why not move the factory to Mexico (or Guatemala) to take advantage of low wages? The situation in New Bedford is representative of the symbiotic, co-dependent relationship between employers and illegal immigrants on all levels of American society. Will the New Bedford raid be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of our country’s immigration crisis, or is this just business as usual?

What about you? Do you run a local business? What compromises do find yourself having to make when hiring? Have you been on the other side of the equation, working alonside illegal immigrants in less than ideal working conditions?

Barney Frank

U.S. Representative, D-MA

Jack Spillane

Columnist, New Bedford Standard-Times

Helena Marques

Executive Director, New Bedford Immigrants’ Assistance Center

Mayor Scott W.Lang

Mayor, City of New Bedford

Extra Credit Reading

Senator Edward Kennedy, A better solution – Update 2: VIDEO and AUDIO, Daily Kos, Mar 13, 2007: “The photographs of bewildered, desperate, crying children brought home the full horror of the government raid distinguished by its callousness.”(via Potter)

Casey Ross, Sweatshop Supports Luxe Life, The Boston Herald, March 11, 2007: “The accused owner of a New Bedford sweatshop has used the work of destitute illegal laborers to support a lavish suburban lifestyle that includes luxury cars, a Colonial-style home hard by a Pembroke golf course and a Palm Beach, Fla., getaway, financial records show.”

Brian R. Ballou, US judge halts the removal of more detainees from state, The Boston Globe, March 10, 2007: “Ninety people are being held in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, at the Bristol County House of Correction , the Barnstable County House of Correction , and the Wyatt Federal Detention Center in Central Falls, R.I. There are 207 detainees in Texas, with 91 at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Harlingen and 116 at the El Paso Service Processing Center.”

Eileen McNamara, State fails immigrants, The Boston Globe, MMarch 11, 2007: “But, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Patrick and Department of Social Services Commissioner Harry Spence were alerted in advance to plans to storm the factory. What responsibility then does the state bear for the mess that ensued?”

Outraged Liberal, ICE-y Hot, Massachusetts Liberal, March 15, 2007: “The circular finger pointing over the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raid on a New Bedford factory — and the subsequent separation of parents from children — has gotten so confusing we may never know the truth.”

The Editors, Timeline of the New Bedford raid, The Boston Globe, March 15, 2007: “DEC. 29, 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Bruce Foucart briefs incoming Public Safety Secretary Kevin M. Burke on the planned raid.”

Manuel Roig-Franzia, A Culinary and Cultural Staple in Crisis, The Washington Post, January 27, 2007: “Mexico is in the grip of the worst tortilla crisis in its modern history. Dramatically rising international corn prices, spurred by demand for the grain-based fuel ethanol, have led to expensive tortillas.” (via tbrucia)

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  • rc21

    First,the outcry has come from the liberal media,several special intrest groups, and the pandering politicians, not the public. The Globe has placed crying mothers on the front page to gather support for these people who have broken the law. The local news has gone out of their way to spin this story so that people will sympathize with the illegals.

    The ICE did nothing wrong. They are actually trying to enforce the law,something the majority of Americans agree with.

    People that come to this country illegaly should not expect or be afforded special priviledges or rights. They broke the law and got caught.

    We also need to harsher penalties for people who hire illegals .

  • Potter

    Wow- It must have been telepathy or sumthin’

    http://www.radioopensource.org/pitch-a-show-3107/#comment-46787

    (Kennedy has a diary on Kos-good for him!- and good comments by an immigration lawyer who posts there – I linked ).

  • tbrucia

    In Texas the economy would grind to a halt without Mexican labor… The restaurants would close, lawns would remain unmowed, nurseries and landscape businesses would vanish, and moms would need to quit their jobs to go home and replace the women who are caring for their children. I find it BIZARRE when I find myself agreeing with George Bush on anything — but his proposals are the only sensible ones I’ve heard. It’s ridiculous that his conservative base has deserted him on this issue… The idea that ‘white boys’ are going to become cooks, dishwashers, janitors, roofers (in the Texas heat!?), or tree trimmers is about as realistic as expecting hordes of American kids to move to Mexico to raise corn and herd goats. This part of the country can either use illegal Mexican labor, or it can use legal Mexican labor — but those are the only alternatives. And a simple legislative device called a ‘law’ converts illegals into legals: instantly! It’s time for the magicians in Washington to wave their wands and turn all the folks who are making a living by the sweat of their brows from criminals into citizens. Bush’s proposals included fines, back taxes (if any), screening for criminals, etc. Call it ‘amnesty’ if you want, or call it ‘making them Americans’… The verbiage is irrelevant. The important thing is getting a handle on who is in the country, giving them the protection of the courts, innoculating their kids against contagious diseases, making sure they work in safe conditions, insuring they get paid for work performed, and — in short — making them part of US instead of a vulnerable and exloitable workforce of THEMs.

  • tbrucia

    ” How is it that a factory employing nearly 500 people could set up shop and hire illegals and exploit them in an American city that has high unemployment, high poverty and high dropout rates?” — “the workers were denied overtime, docked 15 minutes of pay for every minute they were late and fined for talking on the job, of for spening more than two minutes in the plant’s bathroom.” — And who could the workers turn to when they were denied overtime, docked pay, or fined? As illegals, they were fair game! And where were the unemployed, poor dropouts when the illegals were hired? Were the ‘native Americans’ volunteering to work for a nickle less than the illegals, so they could escape poverty with a job that involved the denial of overtime, docking of pay, and fines? I think everyone knows the answer… and if the ‘native Americans’ took the jobs, and didn’t like the unfair labor practices, THEY had the opportunity to protest using the legal system, an avenue closed to the illegals, precisely because they were illegals!!!

  • tbrucia

    [Last post for now ; I promise!]. Expect more folks to come in from Mexico as ethanol production using corn feedstock continues to push prices up…. After NAFTA took root, efficient MidWest American corn producers forced a lot of subsistence corn farmers in Mexico off the land (cheaper to buy corn from the North Americans than to grow it/try to sell it for the other necessities of life). Now, with ethanol production stepping up, the opposite side of the scissors begins to cut… Here’s an article from The Washington Post which explains the complexities of the issue better than my few words… http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/26/AR2007012601896_pf.html .

  • 1st/14th

    The idea that ‘white boys’ are going to become cooks, dishwashers, janitors, roofers (in the Texas heat!?), or tree trimmers is about as realistic as expecting hordes of American kids to move to Mexico to raise corn and herd goats.

    That’s news to me, unless I am not old enough to remember the days when homes in Texas had no roofs, trees were never trimmed, and restaurants threw dirty dishes out because there were no “white boys” willing to wash them.

  • 1st/14th

    In Texas the economy would grind to a halt without Mexican labor… The restaurants would close, lawns would remain unmowed, nurseries and landscape businesses would vanish, and moms would need to quit their jobs to go home and replace the women who are caring for their children.

    This is one of the most pernicious and ignorant myths of open border advocates. Has anyone ever wondered why the Japanese pioneered and currently dominate industrial automation fields like robotics? Forty years ago they faced a labor shortage that left them with a similar situation that the United States, and to a greater extent, Europe faces today. The Japanese could have taken in massive amounts of Korean or other SE Asian labor to fill that gap, but instead chose to automate their industries. Now they lead the world in these fields, providing much higher quality employment than had they chose the immigration option. I know the disdain most OS listeners have for “traditional economics”, but when there is a labor shortage that cannot be fulfilled, industry will find a way to compensate. They will do things more efficiently, relying on automation to make this possible or they will pay more to what workers are available usually with the two options taking place simultaneously.

  • 1st/14th

    And one final point, the real “Immigration Katrina” will be when someone drives a truck bomb in utilizing our open and porous Southern borders, plants it on top of Hoover Dam, and wipes out 50,000 people. A federal agency applying the laws congress has enacted is only a scandal on bizzaro world.

  • enhabit

    too harsh rc21..too binary…these are human beings trying to extract themselves from poverty! law breakers or not they deserve to be handled with respect. i doubt that you would stay put in the bario either.

    they have jobs here because american labor is not competing well financially with the rest of the world..hence the unemployment. our standard of living is too high in this country and we are HEAVILY in debt as individuals and as a country…it is the poor who pay the heaviest price..as always.

    btw what liberals? we have all become so conservative in the United States that any slightly sympathetic individual is labeled a bleeding heart liberal. do you seriously think that the new york times is liberal? fear not, the revolution is dead or locked up somewhere..we are in a state of cultural conservation here..democrats and all.

  • Hans2

    Americans want to be compassionate and accepting. We also want our borders to be secure so that another 9/11 doesn’t happen. The people rounded up in New Bedford aren’t terrorists, but the fact that they were able to get into the country illegally raises concerns. Laws were broken. They shouldn’t have been here. They deserved to be treated decently as human beings by law enforcement officials (and to my knowledge they weren’t beaten or tortured), but they do not have “rights” as some sort of illegal “citizens”.

    Imagine that I broke into your house and demanded “rights” when caught by you while sitting in your living room. Imagine that I was then arrested for breaking into your house and complained because the police wouldn’t let me pick up my child at the babysitters. How silly would that be? Or imagine that I, a really nice person, have no driver’s license or car and that a friend gives me a car and I drive illegally. Should I not be detained by police because I am a “nice” person?

    Could things have been done differently in New Bedford? Should immigration laws be reformed somehow? Probably. But the fact remains – these folks – as nice as they might be – broke the law.

  • enhabit

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    this may only be from the preamble to the declaration of independence..but it was the opening volley of a great idea. it doesn’t say that only “citizens” are endowed with certain rights. i say that anybody on our soil or in our custody is entitled. if that’s liberal then tell it to the continental congress…and while you’re at it take it to guantánamo.

    being an illegal immigrant does not mean that it’s okay to treat you like dirt.

  • 1st/14th

    this may only be from the preamble to the declaration of independence..but it was the opening volley of a great idea. it doesn’t say that only “citizens” are endowed with certain rights. i say that anybody on our soil or in our custody is entitled. if that’s liberal then tell it to the continental congress…and while you’re at it take it to guantánamo.

    I encourage you to invite few dozen illegals to come live with you if you feel so passionately about their “constitutional rights”. And that whole citizen thing ….. yeah I think they got around to defining that in the constitution ….. you know, the law.

  • enhabit

    they are absolutely welcome in my house.. where does the constitution explicitly exclude anybody from constitutional protection?..you know, the law. you seem to resent these people..why?

  • enhabit

    14th amendment – article 1

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    any person…not any citizen…

  • OliverCranglesParrot

    Coyotes have smuggled the italic moloch into the thread…illegally…

  • enhabit

    let’s move on to the bill of rights shall we?

    Amendment IV

    The right of the PEOPLEe to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the PERSONS or things to be seized.

    Amendment V

    No PERSON shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any PERSON be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the ACCUSED shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    still looking for citizen

  • OliverCranglesParrot
  • enhabit

    it’s not as though “citizen” is never used..as in the 14th amendment.

    it would seem that the founders felt that the terms should be distinct.

    although maybe they meant that only US citizens were “people” or “persons.” or “accused.”

    doyathink?

  • hoov182

    Shocked by New Bedford? Try looking at other secretly and ravenously poor New England towns…Fall River, MA…Warren, RI…

  • PaulK

    I know an illegal human being. She’s lived here for a decade. She’s married to a very alcoholic American husband, a truly mean guy. Psychologically, I think she’s coming apart a bit. If she does anything at all, he’s going to deport her back to Guatemala.

    I’m sorry that she doesn’t have any human rights at all.

  • NBStina

    I think I may be the first person who lives in New Bedford (about 1/8th of a mile down the road from Michael Bianco, actually) to post a comment. I think it’s much easier to be either a “bleeding heart” or a hard-liner about this situation if you view it from a distance. As someone who lives here, grew up here, the daughter of a union man, a factory worker at the long-defunct Goodyear plant, I am ambivalent and torn, as I am about many aspects of life in this place.

    But probably the strongest feeling I have is one of antipathy for Insolia, the owner of the factory. He is a type that we find all too often in cities like New Bedford, the Economic Predator. He and his ilk take advantage of a whole array of conditions that exist in cities like ours, take the money, and drive home to Country Club Circle (Insolia’s actual street name!) in their Mercedes SUVs, never giving a second thought to the principle of enlightened self-interest, and how their capital might be put to use to make money for themselves and strengthen the overall economy and social fabric of the community that helping to create their wealth.

  • webgremlin

    Why is it so easy to hire undocumented workers? Why aren’t the companies providing this opportunity to people held more responsible. If people didn’t think there was a job waiting for them, they would not spend thousands of dollars sneaking in and effectively indenturing themselves to loan sharks and pithy wages.

    CT recently held a conference on the human traffiking in Connecticut. CONNECTICUT! Keep in mind that many undocumented workers are not necessarily working for themselves or willingly.

    What about large consumers of goods produced by cheap labor? Walmart accountants must be able to look at the price and shirts and realize something is up. Ignorance is not an excuse!

  • Igor

    1st/14th:

    > And that whole citizen thing … I think they got around to defining that in the constitution … you know, the law.

    Yes, that’s true, they did, by counting slaves as 3/5 of a human 🙁

    You know, laws are written by people and for (the benefit of certain groups of) people.

    And BTW, do _you_ have _any_ experience with immigration laws? I do, and it’s a mess, honestly… And about enforcement/processing, now they have backlogs for labor certifications up to 5 _years_ and counting, so don’t talk to me about laws…

  • 1st/14th

    The jurisdiction of immigration status falls under administrative law, not criminal law, as I am sure you are unaware. Congress may regulate any law pertaining to the status of non-citizens, setting punishments for them that would be illegal if applied to citizens (like deportation) and this has been by the Supreme Court on many occasion: Harisiades vs Shaughnessy

    Under our law, the alien in several respects stands on an equal footing with citizens, but in others has never been conceded legal parity with the citizen. Most importantly, to protract this ambiguous status within the country is not his right but is a matter of permission and tolerance. The Government’s power to terminate its hospitality has been asserted and sustained by this Court since the question first arose.

    My “resentment” stems from the fact that when my parents immigrated here, they applied for visas, learned the language, became citizens, and never whined over the process. Illegal immigration is a drain on our economy, and a drain on our nation. They undermine blue collar wages, refuse to speak the language, and refuse to assimilate. While I pay my property/income taxes to provide them with free a free bi-lingual education, free county health services, food stamps, WIC, they protest in the millions that this is not enough.

    Normally, if someone broke into my home, went through my pantry, ate my food, and refused to leave when I caught them, they would be talking to the business end of a Remington 870 express.

    Deport them all, each and every one without prejudice.

    Igor: Hell, if that’s the case then lets ignore all the laws, since they are only written to protect the “elites”. I think I will start by stealing your car. I hope its nice. Just because immigrations laws are FUBAR, does not give someone the right to ignore them, and it most definately does not give the government the right to not enfoce them.

  • enhabit

    read through the constitution again 1st/14th…still can’t back up your case there. the constitution trumps everything in us law, as i’m sure you are aware. the status of these persons as “illegals” is not the question here. they are entitled under the constitution to be treated humanely by government and employer alike..and to be given due process.

    good for your parents they chose freedom well..freedom to raise you as they see fit…freedom so that you can have that remington..freedom to state your case here.

    those “blue collar wages” went overseas long ago. undermined by globalization and national debt..not illegal immigrants. saw it happen in pittsburgh…do you seriously think that the sweat shops would exist at all in new bedford if american labor was all that was available? there would be no such jobs at all. but as you say, these people wouldn’t be sucking away on your taxes either. our labor economy is in a state of painful reformation because of overseas non-union labor…desperate guatemalans living like slaves in new bedford, in the “land of the free”, have nothing to do with it.

    every american family has stories such as yours..sorry that you’re so bitter. i would sooner have all that money back from the pentagon…much bigger problem…but the military industrial complex MAKES MONEY on that one..don’t let the immigrants distract you, half a trillion a year is going to defense…those immigrants cost peanuts, that’s why they’re here.

  • Right on, enhabit! ditto

  • Not long ago Forbes magazine gave out a list of new billionaires. They said that having more billionaires now than ever before is proof that the economy is going great. Well, I guess its going great for those billionaires but personally I think we are rounding up the wrong crowd.

    1st/14th why would you waste the the business end of your Remington 870 on some poor starving immigrant? Use it on a rich bastard and everyone could be well fed.

  • darwhin

    if we had guarded the border from the start this would never have happened. we should have built the fence long ago. it would have simply revealed the realities of needs, the industries that require such workers would pressure lawmakers into finally creating a real working temporary worker program. this program would provide workers for industry and protect them from exploitation. industry would no longer have the excuse to hire illegal workers and it all works out. those against the fence are really against forcing a real solution.

    many of such people have underlying agendas behind their obstructionist activism. they hope to alter demographics to benefit from new voters or for racial activist groups, simply swell their numbers and thus increase their power. such people do not create an honest discussion and should be ignored. they tend to be the ones who claim they want to help the poor, but really their position just protects the status quo of exploitation and low wages. it also helps further hurt the poor americans who have had their low skill jobs devalued to such a point that they will not do them. of course they won’t take such jobs if you allow such competition, its not about laziness. after all if you want to pretend americans being priced out of certain jobs is about laziness how about abolishing the minimum wage too? total free market no restrictions, add children to the equation and maybe we can knock down prices even futher.

    its a strange situation that today the left basically is protecting companies and fighting for their right to exploitation and low wages. its about as unprogressive as it gets. the gap between the rich and the poor continues to get wider and wider, yet the democrats find themselves trying to flood more low wage competition into the country to hurt even more american jobs. theres always the ones that pretend that our country would grind to a halt, that is nonsense, have they not heard of supply demand? flood the supply of workers and the wages crash, restrict and it increases wages. flood workers in and the work becomes devalued and looked down on. its always interesting to note those who fight for flooding in of low wage workers are in jobs safe from such competition. the worst kind of liberals those who think they are righteous when they are just as despicable as those they oppose.

  • Potter

    Where is that beautiful piece Chris read on New Bedford? I thought it was a post.

  • rc21

    The NY Times was caught lying about the N Bedford raid last night. They claimed in an editorial that a baby was ripped away from it’s mother. Because of this and her inability to breast feed,the baby became dehydrated and was forced into hospital.

    This was proven to be a lie by the Mass head of DSS. He denied any such event. The times said they witnessed it. I doubt they even had a reporter on scene during the raid. Nothing like a good lie if it goes to further your agenda,but I would expect nothing less from the times.

  • rc21

    To enhabit; I am sympathetic to people who work hard, I’m more sympathetic to those who work hard and follow the law. When you break the law there are consequences. If we want to do away with the law fine . We can have a lawless society. Kind of like Iraq or Somalia. How would that be? I’m sure you would quickly change your mind. We cant pick and choose the laws we follow and ignore the rest.

    I like to drive fast. If I speed and get caught I pay the price,

    If you enter the country illegaly and get caught you have to expect the same.

  • Hans2

    >14th amendment – article 1

    >No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or >immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any >person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any >person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    >any person…not any citizen…

    Uh, the word “citizen” is used in the first sentence. A citizen IS a person, but not every person IS a citizen. Of course all people should have rights as human beings! The preamble to the Constitution makes this clear: all persons have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But it is not left at that. “Roads” to these ends are then mapped out for specific “people” – “citizens” -who are expected to embrace these ideals, uphold laws, and accord “power” to elected, representative officials. Citizens have the inalienable rights of all people, and have additional rights (and duties) too, as “members” of a specific nation. To say “I am an American citizen. ” and all that that implies is not the same as saying “I just walked over the border from Canada”.

    All sorts of groups – political, religious, and social – define “membership” and what is involved in attaining it. If membership is not attained in the prescribed manner, then those who have walked through the door without having met the expected requirements can and should be asked to leave. Harvard can ask me to leave a classroom if it’s discovered that I’m not a paying student. Clergy of some churches can deny me sacraments if I have not been baptized or whatever.

    A police officer can arrest me for driving without a license, even though I might protest that I’m actually an “undocumented driver”. It’s one thing to treat illegal aliens humanely. It’s another thing to have to handcuff them when they are discovered and try to jump out a window. The latter sort of mitigates the intesity of the former.

  • enhabit

    uh, that is open to debate in that there is never a defined link such as ” citizen henceforth to be refered to as person or people or accused” this is a legal contract not a high school essay.

  • Potter

    It should be noted the circumstances under which laws are broken.”The law” is law made by the people’s representatives,not perfect, not infallible. Notice also where law is enforced or not enforced, where it is perhaps politically expedient to do so or not to do so.

  • enhabit

    at any rate that was in reference to what is EXplicit..easily verified not implicit.

    in the realm of the implicit…the founding fathers had the early stirrings of manifest destiny on their minds..it’s a fair bet that hey left this a little ambiguous on purpose.

    “we the people of the united states”..this is specific and defined..it seems possible that a good contract lawyer good argue that this implies that every reference to people in the document refers back to this. can’t find any defined link else where though between citizen and “person” or “accused”. with the possible and ambiguous exception of article 3 of the 14th and the 22nd amendmants..why don’t you keep looking as well it’s shorter than the sports section.

    re: the house

    No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

    “person”, “inhabitant” and citizen are CLEARLY de-linked here for example

    Section 8 – Powers of Congress is interesting…hasn’t been ammended either

    The Congress shall have Power….

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    article II once again the de-link is clear..

    No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    “person” is deliberately de-linked in article IV, section 2..”person” does seems to refer to “slave” here and there as in the ammended part here:

    The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

    A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

    (No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause in parentheses is superseded by the 13th Amendment.)

    article VI is a useful reminder

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    ammendment I seems to link to “we the people”

    Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History

    1. All persons

    “person” is not yet “citizen” until

    born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State,

    excluding Indians not taxed. “indians not taxed” are persons but were they “citizens”?

    But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States,

    an “inhabitant” must be a “citizen”

    or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    now here you may have me..this is an exception..no person may be a senator etc. in the first articles w/o being a “citizen” not mentioned here and implicitly linked. it does it again in amendment 22 but that’s from 1951

    other wise ” person” as a term is abandoned..perhaps it was just too ambiguous.

    Amendment 15 – Race No Bar to Vote. Ratified 2/3/1870. History

    1. The right of CITIZENS of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

    Amendment 24 – Poll Tax Barred. Ratified 1/23/1964. History

    1. The right of CITIZENS of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

    amendment 26 – Voting Age Set to 18 Years. Ratified 7/1/1971. History

    1. The right of CITIZENS of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

    uh, if you are going to be condescending…at least show your work.

  • Hans2

    >uh, that is open to debate in that there is never a defined link such as ” citizen >henceforth to be refered to as person or people or accused” this is a legal >contract not a high school essay.

    Who then was our Constitution written for in the 18th century? People everywhere? Its ideals spoke to many abroad, but it was written by Americans for Americans. It was the U.S. Constitution, not The Declaration of the Rights of People All Over the World. The embodied ideals were and are universal. The practical application of them, politically speaking, was not. The founding fathers devised a constitution which addressed the rights, privileges and civic duties of a specific “people” living in a new nation. It applied to them and their descendents. It also applied to those who came after the founding our country and abided by the expected “rites of passage” for new citizens.

    One can’t use words like “constitution”, “nation”, and “laws” on the one hand (which define and set parameters for a specific people and nation) and say that they pertain to everyone on the planet on the other. Illegal aliens are people. They are not citizens, and to suggest that the Constitution (a political tool) was not written for citizens (members of a national/political body) is disingenuous. Illegal aliens have a right to be treated decently as human beings. They do not have the right to come here illegally and not suffer consequences. The spectacle some time ago in which thousands of people first marched for the “rights” of illegal aliens in America while waving every flag except ours, spoke volumes.

  • enhabit

    if you were to go back to the beginning of all this you would see that i have been suggesting that these rights..enjoyed by the citizens of the united states..implicitly and maybe even explicitly extend to those in our custody or on our soil.

  • enhabit

    of course those rights that are specifically defined for “citizens”…such as voting etc. and only for those BORN here who are “citizens”…such becoming president are excluded.

  • enhabit

    our integrity..amongst ourselves and internationaly, depends upon how determined we are to maintain human rights, as defined by our own constitution, among all people placed in our hands..regardless of the circumstance.

  • Darwhin said: “we should have built the fence long ago

    A fence works both ways. It can keep people out. It can keep people in. I do not want to live in a walled in country.

    If there were not HUGE discrepancies in wealth this would not be an issue. American Corporations have been ripping off other countries for so long, concentrating the worlds wealth in this country, of course people who desperately need money are going to come here. This is where the money is.

  • enhabit

    sounds more like the founding fathers than “unless you don’t belong here”

  • Hans2

    >A fence works both ways. It can keep people out. It can keep people in. I do >not want to live in a walled in country.

    A “walled” country? Immigrants of all stripes made this country great, and the process can no doubt be made better. But along with a spirit of acceptance must go common sense. Do we let anyone and everyone, known and unknown, walk into our homes and take up residence? We live in “walled” homes do we not? Walls “exclude” but they also protect, and laws are walls of sorts. They can be “built”, “reenfoced”, “altered”, and “torn down”. Should we have no laws at all? Or respect only ones that we as individuals agree with? Illegal aliens are breaking the law. Those who invite them in are breaking the law. And those who harbor them are breaking the law. Some laws SHOULD be defied. Those that promoted segregation for example. But to tell illegal aliens that they must go home – in light of the law as it presently exists – is not unreasonable or an infringement on their rights as human beings.

    >If there were not HUGE discrepancies in wealth this would not be an issue. >American Corporations have been ripping off other countries for so long, >concentrating the worlds wealth in this country, of course people who >desperately need money are going to come here. This is where the money is.

    I agree. But a desire for wealth or a better standard of living and the ability to buy things has never been the sole hallmark of American citizenship. We cannot possibly accept into this country every soul who would like to come here. And there are also huge discrepancies in wealth in the very countries that poor illegal aliens come from. Why should not their countries of origin be held accountable for such discrepancies as well?

  • darwhin

    “If there were not HUGE discrepancies in wealth this would not be an issue. American Corporations have been ripping off other countries for so long, concentrating the worlds wealth in this country, of course people who desperately need money are going to come here. This is where the money is.”

    explain japan, asia, and the rebuilt europe rising from world war 2? evil us corporations are pretty horrible at keeping competition down really. look at what happened to our big three automakers. selective conspiracy stuff isn’t worth much. there is a culture of corruption and inability to stick to reforms in south america that continues to doom their countries to poverty. you can’t knee jerk blame everything on the us.

    as for immigration, i think there were actually periods in the us where immigration was rather restricted, it wasn’t always a flood into the us.

    http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/Immigration/waves_of_immigration.html

    and its probably for the best really, gives time for the immigrants to assimilate before more are taken in.

    “A fence works both ways. It can keep people out. It can keep people in. I do not want to live in a walled in country.”

    how would it keep people in? it would keep criminals and people who would cross into mexico illegally in. i don’t see how you could possibly be against such a thing. you don’t like walls? do you keep your door open? so you know, a homeless who is poorer than you can just walk in and squat? by your standards he should have that right since you have more. the simple fact is that we do live in a controlled country, most countries are, thats what they are. when you go to an airport and travel abroad you need a passport, whats wrong with that? do other countries have no right to see who is coming in? if thats ok, why isn’t it to control our border. its simply logical.

  • tbrucia

    An interesting point from another blog… “There are currently an estimated 48,000-80,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the U.S. And yet, I have not read one post here about sending them all home…”

    RE: a comment (above) that, ‘when there is a labor shortage that cannot be fulfilled, industry will find a way to compensate. They will do things more efficiently, relying on automation to make this possible or they will pay more to what workers are available usually with the two options taking place simultaneously.’ I know of no way to automate the jobs of cooks (unless you consider McDonald’s to be a restaurant!), mow folks’ lawns (beyond the lawnmowers entrepreneurial Mexicans have ingeniously employed to increase their productivity), trim trees, landscape houses, put roofs on new construction, or care for infants and small children. (If my wife and I could have automated the care of my son, we would have done so!). As for paying more, most people hire others so their own time in freed to engage in more remunerative endeavors; paying other Americans at inflated wages would simply dry up the market and make it all ‘a rich man’s game’ with a handful of the elite capable of paying the rates Americans expect (as a privilege of being born in the right place?). One of the elements of a free enterprise economy is the free flow of capital — AND LABOR! This results in the optimum utilization of resources, and maximizes growth (though some oxen get gored in the process).

  • tbrucia

    If all the people of Massachusetts get together and lobby Ted Kennedy, maybe they can get all those illegal Irishmen and women taking jobs from good Americans and send them back to Ireland… Start in the bars. And I suppose some hysterical newspaper articles about the bomb-throwing IRA terrorists lurking in New Bedford, Framingham, and Chelsea would really wake up those complacent folks unaware of the terrible Irish threat lurking in every Massachusetts city and town…. [Geez, I hope you all realize this is my ‘blog equivalent’ of Jonathan Swift’s 1729 ‘A Modest Proposal!]

  • tbrucia

    If one walls oneself in (for protection), does one live in a fortress or a prison cell?

  • enhabit

    touché tbrucia!

  • Potter

    Once more with feeling… about smack in the middle, I’d say, of this program Chris breaks out into a beautifully written piece on New Bedford and Chris says it is from “our website” by “Herman” ( a “wonderful contributor, comment writer, signs in as “Herman””…Chris).

    I don’t find any Herman here, nor the piece that Chris read. In fact it sounded like it might be written by one Herman Melville. Is this a pre- April Fool’s?

    This was a test folks! It was Melville! Astonishingly good writing.

  • herbert browne

    Hey- I’ve got a “win-win” for us- let’s drop a nuclear bomb on every uninhabited half-mile along the Mexican border, from Tijuana to the Rio Grande. We simultaneously reduce our nuclear weapons before their shelf-life expires, and create a guardable canyon that is easily surveiled and defended- without having to pay a bunch of cheap illegal laborers to build us a wall. Well… why not?

    The incredible level of arrogant sophistry of the Euro-american “conquerors” of the Western Hemisphere provides an architecture of the most self-deserving grandeur imaginable. Beginning with the aping of the MOL geographically-defined Euro-kingdoms on our Eastern shores, to the global-scale, “surveyor’s math”-inspired borders West of the Mississippi, the US is a fabulous “piece of work”. Borders, borders, borders… “hey, look- let’s just put these people in a wide-open, unusable place over there… until we need it for something.” Voila- the Indian Reservation. (How thoughtless of the Stone-age cultures to actually Beat us here- by a few thousand years- and have the temerity to claim that they Deserve something… just because they’ve grown used to Having it!”) Fence ’em in, fence ’em out- it’s all MIne, now…

    (from Hans2) Re: “..a desire for wealth or a better standard of living and the ability to buy things has never been the sole hallmark of American citizenship..”-

    You’re sure, now?

    (ibid) “..there are also huge discrepancies in wealth in the very countries that poor illegal aliens come from. Why should not their countries of origin be held accountable for such discrepancies as well?”-

    I agree… and there may be a way to deal with that. ( tbrucia makes the assertion that)

    ..”One of the elements of a free enterprise economy is the free flow of capital — AND LABOR! This results in the optimum utilization of resources, and maximizes growth (though some oxen get gored in the process)..”-

    I’d assert that CAPITAL IS LABOR- SLAVE LABOR; and All “Labor” should be treated equally. If the rules for moving Capital/Labor across borders were restricted by an Edict of Reciprocity, then we will have gone a long ways towards treating everyone more fairly. For example, if the Sultan of Brunei is allowed to send a billion dollars to Wall Street to “work” for him, then Americans must have the same rights with regard to investment in Brunei- AND- the Sultan’s gardener will have the same cross-border rights as the the Sultan’s money… AND- you & I may go to Brunei and exert the same rights- of pursuing our desires to put our “human Capital” to work in any means legal to others in that place. The departure of “liquid” (ie non-human) Capital to the places on the Earth where it is offered the greatest protection (while being enabled to provide its owner with the greatest likelihood of receiving “something for nothing”) is part of the problem that Hans2 has indicated; ie the wealthy everywhere acquire boodle that has come to them via the labor & the places around them; & then they send it to somewhere far away, to make even more. If the families of the Latin American oligarchies suddenly had to accommodate a bunch of Yankee baby boomers in their midst, who might choose to work in their locale part-time (while living off their SS/ retirement income), the result might be that the local infrastructure would receive a bit more funding, and possibly even some job-development investments, from “local sources”.

    We’ve gone to great lengths to give corporations the same (or very similar) Rights as those granted to Individuals. Let’s give Individuals the same rights that we presently provide to Capital. ^..^

  • enhabit

    don’t stop now herbert browne you’re just getting warmed up!

  • rc21

    Herbert Brown,I have yet to see one fairminded liberal American turn over his or her house and property to the closest indian tribe. When this happens I will take yor statements a bit more seriously.

    I also liked your statement about slave labor. Please where in the US is this being practiced? No such thing sorry to dissapoint you.

  • enhabit

    prostitution?

  • rc21

    Unfortunately most women who go into prostitution do it of their own free will. Those who are forced, are forced by crimminal enterprise,not legitimate business.

    Although if you go to Nevada you can legally find such services. Those women are prostitutes also of their own volition.

    Of course low paying jobs those of which H.B. refers to as slave labor are exactly the thing that keeps many women and children from having to resort to prostitution. I say thank god for low paying jobs the alternitive is much less desirable.

    Thanks for bringing up that point.

  • enhabit

    “most” is overstating it a little don’t you think?

    also for example: there are well documented agricultural camps in florida…either slavery or severe indentured servitude with a no-exit clause if you prefer…chinese gangs run some pretty nasty operations as well…russian gangs too..many others. yes these are outside of the law..adequatly persued by law enforcement? who knows, but in operation they remain…on US soil.

  • enhabit

    then there’s always this one..even compensated people can be slave-like:

    an excerpt…

    July 30, 2000

    A ‘Petri Dish’ in the Pacific

    By Juliet Eilperin

    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Wednesday, July 26, 2000; Page A10

    Last year, two close associates of one of the most powerful members of the U.S. House spent part of their New Year’s holiday 8,000 miles from Washington in the Northern Marianas. Although the islands are known for their balmy weather, golf courses and great snorkeling, the trip could hardly be described as a junket–the advisers to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) were there on a political mission.

    Ed Buckham and Mike Scanlon wanted to lend support to a conservative politician vying to become speaker of the U.S. territory’s House of Representatives. As the two operatives toured airstrips and ports, assessing the islands’ infrastructure needs, their message was subtle but clear: Elect Ben Fitial speaker, and congressional largess would follow.

    Soon after the visit, several local lawmakers switched sides and threw their support to the DeLay-backed candidate, saying they were convinced the islands would have a better chance of winning federal funds if they elected someone with such close ties to congressional leaders. Fitial became speaker in January.

    It was only the latest success in an extraordinary campaign by a powerful network of GOP lawmakers, conservative activists and lobbyists to apply their free-market ideology to this small outpost in the western Pacific, home to a bustling, low-wage garment industry that sends more than $1 billion worth of goods every year to the U.S. mainland.

    For years, labor unions and human rights activists have tried to improve conditions at what they consider the sweatshops of the Northern Marianas, whose best-known island is Saipan. But they have been blocked at virtually every turn by the coalition of conservatives assembled by Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, a firm that has used the issue to cement its reputation for lobbying congressional Republicans.

    With the aid of powerful GOP allies such as DeLay and House Resources Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska), Preston Gates has turned the Marianas into a cause celebre for conservative activists and a profitable business for itself and its allies. The firm has collected more than $6 million in fees from the government and businesses in the islands, and Buckham–DeLay’s former chief of staff–has leveraged his ties to both the whip and Marianas officials to secure a multimillion-dollar power plant contract for a major energy company in DeLay’s district.

    Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), a strong critic of the lax wage and immigration laws on the islands, said the conservative campaign on the Marianas is a cautionary tale in which the very people at the center of the controversy are the only ones who lose out. “It’s a story of a very narrow special interest triumphing over the rights and dignity of the workers,” he said.

    But Jack Abramoff, who has directed the Preston Gates lobbying campaign, compares the laws Miller and others are seeking to impose with the Nuremberg Laws restricting Jews’ activities under the Nazis.

    “These are immoral laws designed to destroy the economic lives of a people,” Abramoff said. Conservatives “see in this battle a microcosm of an overall battle. . . . What these guys in the CNMI are trying to do is build a life without being wards of the state.”

    Composed of 14 islands in the Pacific just north of Guam, the area now known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or CNMI, was seized by the United States from the Japanese during World War II. But it wasn’t until 1986 that a covenant went into effect granting Northern Marianas residents U.S. citizenship and all the benefits that flow from that, except the right to vote in federal elections.

    For House Republicans, the territory embodies many of the ideals they promoted when they seized the majority in 1994. It is exempt from federal labor and immigration laws, setting its minimum wage at $3.05 an hour; of the roughly 79,000 residents, many are low-wage workers from China or the Philippines. The factories churn out clothes bearing the label “Made in the USA,” which can be sent without tariffs or quotas to the mainland. “It is a perfect petri dish of capitalism,” DeLay said in an interview. “It’s like my Galapagos island.”

    But Democrats and labor activists say the dearth of regulations has fostered abhorrent conditions for workers. They accuse the garment manufacturers of forcing people to work long hours without overtime, failing at times to pay them at all, and requiring them to live in crowded “barracks.” In 1995, when the U.S. Senate adopted a bill to impose U.S. immigration standards on the Northern Marianas, then-Gov. Froilan Tenorio hired Preston Gates to block the measure in the House.

    there’s more here’s a link

    http://infoshop.org/news_archive/marianas.html

  • rc21

    Those jobs probably would not be there if the pay had to meet US minimum wage standards. In the article I did not read anything about people being forced to work in that industry. Are people being forced at gun point to work in these factories. 3.05 an hour is better than 0.0 an hour.

    This article is a bit similar to what Nancy Pelosi did with the latest minimum wage act. she pushed it through for the country but got American Samoa exempted. just by coincidence Big tuna packing companies are headquartered in her district, but the companies main packing plants are all located in SUPRISE-SUPRISE American Samoa. What a coincidence.

    Back to my original statement other than illegal activities. There is no such thing as slave labor in the USA. You are grasping at straws.

  • herbert browne

    (rc21) ..” have yet to see one fairminded liberal American turn over his or her house and property to the closest indian tribe. When this happens I will take yor statements a bit more seriously..”-

    I’m assuming you know the location of YOUR nearest tribe, no? Not many do…

    It’s funny… I’ve noticed the same thing, about my redneck neighbors. I guess nobody thinks they owe the leftover savages any more than they’ve already got- unless that includes a casino. A whole lot of club-owners around here think they should get to have one, too- since the Redskins do. I remember back when the 2 nearest tribes were trying to get back their treaty fishing rights, in the 1970s, and there were some Hollywood types (or “big city” types, really) like Dick Gregory & Norman Mailer, out there in boats with the hostiles, taking their chances… and by golly, they ended up in jail, too. Turned out that the Federal courts figured out that the Treaty was the same as a Law- and gave the savages a right to fish- which is what they were getting thumped for doing.

    I stopped at the First Av S off-ramp around Valentines Day, and asked the PTSD-addled Nam vet there if he had seen Adam (who is an Aleut with a bum leg who usually hangs out there)… and this guy, Frank, told me that “old Keemo” was covering a corner in town, closer to the men’s shelter (where they both slept)- and that he was doing pretty good, there. I saw Adam about 2 weeks ago, and he said that Frank had moved in on him, and started acting “crazy”- and Adam got worried about getting hurt, maybe- and moved back into the downtown, near the old public dock… and that he was OK- but he used to get more $$ at the off-ramp, from the truckers headed into the port- and now he had to depend on tourists, which wasn’t as steady. Making a living holding a sign & sitting on a 5 gallon bucket isn’t the easiest way to go… even with a bum leg- or a broken mind…

    (rc21) “I also liked your statement about slave labor. Please where in the US is this being practiced? No such thing sorry to dissapoint you..”-

    I guess I wasn’t too clear about what I said- which was CAPITAL IS LABOR- SLAVE LABOR. I didn’t say anything about prostitutes… I was talking about MONEY. You know, MONEY can go across borders, all over the world, without a passport… even twice a day, sometimes. Your money works for you, 24/7, wherever you send it… Zurich, HongKong, Wall Street, London, Mexico City- doesn’t matter. And it sends home EVERYTHING it makes, and never wants a break, or needs you to pay into some “accident insurance” fund, or Workman’s comp, health insurance- nothin’- it just goes and goes, wherever you send it, with no complaints. It won’t need a retirement pension, either. It is, basically, your SLAVE- and it will WORK for you, wherever you want it to… so, it’s SLAVE LABOR.

    Of course, we’ve had other kinds of slave labor in this country- still do, actually- that happen to be people (& I suppose you could make a case for seeing eye dogs & dairy cows and… like that). The people are mostly really poor, and are in the country “illegally”- so they can’t talk back… and even if they could, most of their bosses wouldn’t understand what they were saying, anyhow- which is just fine for both parties.

    I picked apples, pears,etc in the ’60s & ’70s… and also drove truck, & combine during the grain harvest… and planted trees for a few years… and logged- and worked in canneries- and killed fish for a living, a few Summers ago- and I know what it costs to live in my part of the country (which I’ve never been away from, except for a couple of years in the 1960s). When I started picking fruit (in the Hood River Valley in Oregon) there were a few latino pickers- and indians- and a few hippies- and college kids- and old drunks- and whole families of rural white people (that some people called “Okies”)- and a few gypsies- and high school kids- and retired people… a pretty good quality stew of the local communities (except there weren’t any black people). In the coutryside, the chance to earn some cash was a big Plus- because there weren’t many “regular” jobs- but the necessities (food, shelter, gasoline, cigarets) were plentiful- and cheap. Firewood was $.50/cord if you cut it yourself. I could live for a month on what some of my friends in the City paid for rent & utilities. But things changed, when the farmers were offered “crews” of pickers, who were brought from SoCal, by these “crew bosses”, who promised to get the fruit off the trees cheaper than ever before. Maybe they did… maybe they didn’t- but the farmer eventually figured out that he didn’t have to worry about Anything to do with the workers- including paying them… their “crew bosses” did that. (A lot of them in the early days got $1/hr, and picked 5 or 6 bins of fruit in a day- for which we used to get $5./bin (and that’s what the crew bosses got, too!)… So, for the price of a Community, the farmers got cheap labor, that he didn’t have to listen to… and that he knew he could make vanish by a Word to the right person… and there were no fruit tramps talking to his daughter, or idiosyncratic neighbors who wouldn’t pick if it was raining, and a lot less upkeep on the worker cabins (if he had any) and a whole slew of other ‘bennies’… And it worked so well that, these days, if I want an ag laborer job anywhere in the State, it’s essential that I be bi-lingual (& wouldn’t hurt if I had a latin surname). In the fruit-growing areas, there are a lot of “nearly-fulltime” jobs to do, through the season… and most of these are held by ‘resident’ latinos (y latinas)… but harvest time still requires a Big Push- and that’s why people are ‘encouraged’ to cross borders… and become wage slaves, for a little while.

    I went by the church where I’d first served as an altar boy- over 40 years ago- during the Springtime a few years back. It was “first communion” Sunday- and all the little señoritas were on the porch, in their beautiful white dresses & veils- like a shower of plum blossoms- about 20 youngsters (and their parents, nearby)… & I was the only anglo around. “Blessed are the meek”… ^..^

  • enhabit

    that’s a little inert rc21. how do you KNOW that circumstance hasn’t forced many of these people into this situation? i don’t know for sure either but i do know that it’s likely..

    you can adjust the superficial details all you want..income..whatever..we have slavery around us and we choose to ignore it and you back up that point with your rhetoric

  • rc21

    H.B. Nice storeys. By the way the nearest Indian tribe to me is on the cape as of present time no family has given up their property or home to the local tribe and the cape is quite liberal. Home of the Kennedys,you know. It nauseates me to hear people talk about how we stole the Indians land, because as i’ve stated no one has any intention of returning their land to the indians. It just makes you feel good to say something negative about the bad white settlers.

    I liked your fruit picking storey. I grew up next to 3 big fruit farms mostly apple but other stuff as well. The laborers were us kids from the neighborhood a few adults from the area who were basically farm laborers and the owners family. Remember farmers had big families. The owner had 7 kids also his parents and other relatives, A few Jamacains came up for about amonth during peak season. Pay was 10 cents a box for drops. and 25cents a box for apples picked off the tree. I guess you could say pay was cheap and work was hard. But I fondly remember those days. Unfortunatly with the real estate boom of the 80’s The owner sold the farm. Now rich mostly liberal yuppies live in big houses on what were once orchards.

  • herbert browne

    Real estate is eating up a lot of farms & ranches and timberlands around here, too, rc21… some people figured that “houses” would be a pretty lucrative crop- and it is.

    Re “..no one has any intention of returning their land to the indians. It just makes you feel good to say something negative about the bad white settlers..”-

    It’s funny… the Indians that I’ve talked to don’t think of it as “their land”- because, the way they see it, They belong to the Land… like everything else does, that lives on it… not the way we look at it. Their point of view is pretty realistic… they say, “it’s bigger than you- it lives longer than you- someday you gonna be part of it, no matter what you do.” (It reminds me of the farmer who taught me about growing root vegetables, who used to say “Plow deep! there’s a whole ‘nother acre under the one you got, there… and if you could move it someplace else for a minute, you could get at the lower one better.” His point was like the Indians’, that is, if you Could ‘do something’ with that land, why, the land would still be there…)

    I don’t “feel good to say something negative” about white settlers… I’m a child of white settlers. I don’t see any reason not to learn something from them, though, beyond what they may have thought I should know. If a better explanation of something strikes your fancy, then it may be a good idea to look into it- even when it gets you in trouble with your elders- (like happened to Galileo) and threatens to change the way people in general see the world. The idea of “ownership” of land- and of divvying it up into rectangles, with no care or thought about the realities of geography- IS kind of a narrow vision of our place on earth. While it may feel good (for some) and enhance a sense of self-importance, it may not reflect some possibly Greater Realities of our situation (which we might prefer to ignore, for whatever reason).

    Re “25 cents a box” is about the same as $5. a bin… & we only picked off the tree. I think a box is around 40 pounds & a bin about 800- so the pay was equivalent. Some orchards picked up their own drops- or let us pickers take what we wanted- and I’m guessing it most went into applejack… a lot of mine did… ^..^

  • rc21

    H. Brown. You are right ultimitely no one owns the land but in our current state it is owned. and that is the reality of the situation.

    Also remember the indians themselves immigrated from across the bering straights, Russia and parts of Asia. So any claim to who really owned the land is nebulous at best. Also many Indian tribes fought and killed each other over land and other percievd wrongs. They were not quite the fun loving peacful people some would have us believe.

    $5 a bin is correct. Kids had to pick drops until they were stong enough to climb the ladders and hold the baskets around the neck. Remember you filled the basket then opened the bottom and all the apples fell out. Drops were sold at reduced prices, but most were used in making cider. Of course some were used in making hard cider.

    We also had peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, and many berries. Berries were the worst to pick it took way to long to fill a carton. and black berries were loaded with prickers.

    There was nothing like returning to the barn on a cold fall New England night after a day of picking. We always got free food and some hot cider before running home with our 2or 3 dollars.

  • Weebiecat

    I, like Potter, get it that the reading Christopher Lydon gave from “Herman” was indeed from Melville’s “Moby DIck” (Chapter 6, “The Street”), except it has edited out some giveaway sentences. Nonetheless, I recognized it immediately. But I don’t think Jack Spillane did. Read the next bit!

    There is a lot that was left unsaid about New Bedford today, and I have to take some issue with Jack Spillane’s comment about there being no symphony when he arrived here. The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra has operated continuously for over 90 years and within the past 10 years has become remarkably good. The city is hosting a growing population of artists and the cultural life has flourished despite the economic troubles, and the Economic Development Council locally is investigating how to leverage this resource into small businesses. The area requires a broader base of skilled, educated jobs mixed with lower skilled jobs in order to convince people that there is a use for education.

    One has to also recall that this area of the state was where the original Boston/Massachusetts Bay colonists sent their religious dissenters and political outcasts, and could probably partly account for the blind eye Boston has turned to the fortunes of this area. It is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric and Yankee memory that New Bedford was a place for up-starts. The city’s highest pinnacle of success was when the Quakers originally banished here by the Puritans shrugged the exile off and went about making this city the richest place on the earth in the mid-nineteenth century. Somehow, the ability to take fantastic risks and to shrug off what others think is in need of taking hold here again, or I fear it will continue to sink down as the dumping ground for the poor and indigent of the Boston area (many of those we have here who are homeless or nearly so have come from “up north”, presumably because it is cheaper to take care of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled in New Bedford than in Boston).

    Apologies that this is a bit off-topic. I think Ramsey Clark said it best in an interview a number of years ago before the current Iraq war that the US views its activities in other countries purely on the economic side (what’s in it for us, or, if you will, US?) and this is why we could envision war in Iraq (oil) but not in Darfur (human rights).

  • Weebiecat

    I just realized I got WAY off topic by not finishing what I was saying–anyway, we tinkered around with Central America to maintain large plantation owners, originally because there were Marxist types like in 1950s Guatemala who advocated land reform that might have enable rural peoples to make a living. It might have started off as ideological war at the time but I suspect that the continuity of keeping these countries as oligarchies comes as much from corporate America’s need for cheap beef, cheap bananas, etc… as anything else.

    Another thought occurs to me: if some people would have it that when the law has been broken, the children should pay the same penalty as the parent who committed the crime, our jails should be full of infants and toddlers and kids. For God’s sake, is the law of property and citizenship more important than a child’s well-being and security?

  • rc21

    Weebiecat, Where did you read that children and infants should be thrown in jail. Stop trying to demonize people who would just prefer that we enforce our immigration laws. The children should along with their parents be sent back to their country of origin. No jail time. No prison sentance. No sensible person in favor of enforcing immigration laws has ever espoused throwing children in prison.

    Please stop with the over the top silly comments aimed at creating sympathy for people who break the law.

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