Tuesday, April 27, 2010
13) Tom Russell has written a terrific song called" Who's Gonna Build The Walls" which questions that if the illegals are sent home, who's gonna build the wall across the border. The state of Texas relies heavily on the illegals to work on their farms, as they provide cheap labor. Is there an answer to the immigrant issue? Shouldn't the real worry be that some terrorist is sneaking across that same border?
American business must need Mexican labor, or it would not risk what it does to hire Mexican labor.
One of my first jobs after I grew up and left the ranch on which I was raised was to work as a general assignment reporter for the El Paso Herald-Post. I also wrote its weekly farm and ranch page.
At that time, farmers and ranchers all along the border were subjected to the strictest, most stringent punishment for hiring illegal crossers. If caught in the act of using them, they were fined $20,000 or they went to jail. This was in 1953 and 1954. $20,000 was more than a life’s savings for a cotton farmer in the El Paso Valley.
Then, all of a sudden, someone admitted that we better let Mexican workers in, because they were drastically needed. Farmers and ranchers could not make it without them. A program was formed in which workers in Mexico were screened and documented and assigned to the American farms and ranches that needed them. They were able to stay in our country on the job for a certain time only, and then required to return to their homes in Mexico. However, their employers usually saw to their documentation so that they could return after their required rest in Mexico was over.
Overnight, the problem was solved. The Mexicans wanted to return to their homes and often found it difficult to stay on this side for the time required, but the program worked. It was called the Bracero program.
The solution to the problem of illegal crossers, be they drug traffickers or people who seek work, is the same to most border ranchers and farmers who depend on their land and cattle for a living. There are some border hotheads who call themselves ranchers and strut and arm themselves like John Wayne, but don’t ever see a cow turd dropped on their property and are against all immigrant labor. These people most of whom join or form Militia groups, have no need and no compassion for anyone, not even themselves. They only want to shout, “I’m a rancher. As per the tradition of the movie Wild West, I will shoot any Mexican who crosses my land.” It doesn’t matter that his border “ranch” and his “livestock” only consist of one old 20 year old goat and an acre and a half of sandy wash. It doesn’t matter that he’s never learned a word of Spanish or worked and depended on Mexican vaqueros and horsemen for his living. It doesn’t matter that he never crossed the border into Mexico like his neighbor ranchers have done all their lives with Mexican vaqueros guarding them with their lives and celebrating their coming with fiestas in the bosoms of their families.
The solution that I propose is this: Through a common institution like the Chambers of Commerce of Mexico and the U.S., workers are solicited by U.S. employers, screened by an American-Mexican institution or agency, transported to the border at the employer’s expense, met at the border by the employer, and transported by him to the place of employment. The employer is responsible for the worker throughout the term of his employment. After his term is over, the employee has to go home. If he wants to come back to work, he goes through the relatively simple task of submitting himself to the machinations of the agency that handles workers who seek employment in the U.S., only this will be much facilitated, because he already has a job and a reputable sponsor.
Mexicans love their country. They want to live in Mexico. They want to end their lives in the company of their families in the country they love more than life itself. The desire of illegal crossers is to eventually be able to return with their savings to build lives, businesses and fortunes in their own country. Anybody who doesn’t know that this can be done with even small capital, is a fool. Mexico is as rich in resources as the U.S. It’s politics is all that needs a drastic remedy.
This would reinforce the wonderful core of goodness in the Mexican people. And that core of people would be our ally, an ally that we could trust, an ally that would trust us and be grateful to us.
Illegal workers don’t go back, because it’s too hard and dangerous and expensive for them to return to Mexico and then again have to cross the border illegally to return to their jobs in Illinois, or Minnesota, or Northern Arizona.
If they could work in the U.S. my way, which is the way that almost anyone who hires Mexican labor would want to do it, they could return to their families and homes in Mexico without fear of losing their American jobs.
To me, that’s the solution to all of our problems of drug traffic and to all of ours and the Mexicans’ labor problems. The workers that we treat good would perhaps go home and clean up their own country’s government and lawlessness. If they could come across under the protection of our laws, we could turn our guns on the sonsofbitches that are stuffing drugs into our country.
Terrorists are sneaking across our border, that’s why we need to screen every worker before we let them in. With that in place, we goddam shoot every son of a bitch that tries to sneak across our border, because we know he’s not on ours or the Mexicans’ side.
Posted by Rod Norman at 3:26 PM