Friday, April 28, 2006

Interactions with the other side

Update:Since I posted the below post, there has been an eruption of sorts. When I first posted to the "Day without a Mexican" thread there were about 15 posts, it's now at 60 and that's all it will be because the Babycenter locked the thread because two very vocal sets up people started to chime-in, really more like gong-in--it got ugly. Since it's been locked, I've been receiving emails from women thanking me for my words. Ahh, a days job of rebel rousing, for a good cause, is done. :)

ow that I’ve joined the legions of soon-to-be-mother-hood I've discovered the amazingly informative and sometimes scary web culture of parenting and pregnancy. The majority of my time is spent on BabyCenter’s August birth board, which consists of a bunch of women all due to deliver in August, posting and answering each other's questions.

Sometimes the topics can cause serious knock-down-drag-out online fights. I’ve learned that the topics of breast feeding and circumcision are the most controversial and I stay away from them. I’m not one to balk a controversy, but those topics, to me, are boring--I’m pretty set on doing both and don’t really care to debate the topics.

One posted topic that has me really riled, and it’s not even a topic on the August board, rather it’s from the April board is this:

“Is anyone else concerned about "a day without a Mexican?"

Some of the comments have been very xenophobic and full of hate. I felt compelled to respond and doing so caused quite a stir. I fibbed and said I was Mexican-American because I thought presenting an 'e-face' of the 'enemy' would make some of these people think twice about their tone. I’m so glad I did. I think my comments brought forward a women who might have otherwise been scared to declare that her husband is an illegal immigrant ( Poster8)!

Me I'm lurking from another board and just wanted to say that as a Mexican-American I am sort of offended by not only the title of this thread but some of the comments. Here's my beef:
1. It's not a day without a Mexican, it's a day without a Latino/a--many of whom come from many other countries in Latin American, not just Mexico.
2. As a nation we are very lucky that illegal immigrants and migrant workers do the jobs they do. Without them you'd be paying very high rates from the nice fruits and vegetables you eat, pay more to have your lawn fixed up, house cleaned, baby watched, etc. Case in point: In Washington state, the government actually sends buses down to the border to pick up Mexicans willing to be seasonal workers during apple season. You know those nice apples from Washington state we all love? Well you can thank an 'illegal' migrant worker for them, and the US government for keeping our produce costs down by ulitlizing their labor.
3. The US has a border maintenance problem but that's our problem and our fault and I don't really think we can blame people who are hungry and need to support their families for seeking out a better life. I think that as expectant mothers we probably understand this dilemma . Wouldn't you risk being 'illegal' if it meant you could feed your family? I know I would.
4. My final point: Isn't the fact that some people are worried about how this day of protest will impact them a clear example of just how important the Latino community is to our economy and daily life?
I'm not trying to stir up trouble but I just wanted to present a different view point.
Thanks for listening, Cristina

Poster1: My induction is scheduled for May 1st, and I know that a lot of the local restaraunts are closing down because there will be no one to work. I'm worried that there will be riots or something because of how hot this topic is in my town. I'm also worried about the hospital staff not showing up. Obviously the doctors and nurses will be there, but I don't know how many of the other positions may be taking the day off to protest. It's not just the illegals, there are many legal people who agree with them that are protesting too.

Poster2: I'm all for a lifetime without illegals personally. We're flooded with them here in Michigan too.

Poster3: Ticks me off we pay for illegals healthcare bills (im in Texas, so I know ALL about illegals), but honest hard working people who are here b/c our govt allowed them to be, cannot even get help. They need to fix this dam* border problem or just close it off for good. I'm so tired of all the drama and complaints from people who will possibly lose their jobs to illegals who will work for less money....

Poster4: I know... I didn't want to get into my opinions on this because I get so worked up, but I totally agree with you guys. It just makes me mad that this is something I have to worry about on the day I have my baby. I feel so overprotective of her on top of feeling angry that these people think they have the right to protest. Not something I really want to be dealing with.

Poster5: If illegal mexicans (and other nationalities) were not here to pick our apples I am quit sure that our own citizens would be willing to do it. What the heck do you think we did BEFORE we got flooded by illegal immigrants? Just starve? Did we let the apples and cherries rot off the vine? Poster 6: I would GLADLY pay extra to have those apples picked by legal citizens. (and I mow my own lawn and take care of my own kids thank you.) Then we wouldn't have to pay for all of the government programs that dish out to illegals. It would all equal up in the end. Oh and I wouldn't have to hear the option to press one for English, two for Spanish everytime I make a phone call to a company. I only wish that while the illegals are protesting that the government would step in with busses and take every last one out of my country.

ME: Wow such vehement dislike of migrant workers. How many of us on this board are Native Americans? I'm guessing not very many which means most of us have ancestors who were immigrants. Regarding seasonal crops and willingness to pay more for them. THat's all well and good but part of the reason this labor pool is used is because our products are exported to Asia the global market is very competitive. I think you'd be surprised to know that the reason the government uses illegal immigrants to pick apples and other crops is because it's necessary to keep the farmers in business. Our economy depends on exporting many of these products to Asia and the competition between the US products and other nations products is fierce. The US can offer the best rates for these exports because the migrant labor is so inexpensive. Our economy would seriously suffer if we were no longer able to export our products because of the high prices needed to pay American nationals who would surley demand higher wages--migrant workers do not earn minimum wage, they earn less and it would be illegal to American nationals the rate illegal immigrants recieve.

Poster 6: Like I said in an earlier post, I'm a legal immigrant from Canada and to legally come here on my visa I paid over $1000 US and then on top of that, once I got here I had to pay another $500Us or so for paper work. Recently I had my green card re-newed and it cost me another $200. When I hear of people being here illegally and not paying these fees it makes me upset. Also, I pay taxes as well. Do they? I had to get a workers SSN to get my drivers license. That's about $200 so I can drive legally. Can you see why it would upset people who go about it the right way. Oh, and not all apples are picked by migrant workers.

ME I completely understand the money issue and I agree it is a huge financial burden for not only our nation but for the people who come here legally. I am not disputing that it needs to be fixed and that it is unfair. All I'm asking for is a bit of compassion and empathy for these people who are very poor and an acknowledgement that our nation can not survive without immigrant labor. I'm sure there are other people who pick apples and other produce, but I've never seen them and can imagine it's a very small percentage of the population, which is why the government condones the use of illegal workers for harvesting. I've spent time on major farms and I have yet to see an American national picking. This is grueling work and I can't imagine only the most desperate of people would do it. Many of these crops are harvested 24/7 using flood lights at night to pick. Cristina

Poster 8: My husband, who just fathered my beautiful baby boy, is here illegally. He came from Mexico. Before he came, he earned a degree in Industrial Engineering. He tried to get a visa, and they gave him a 2 week one as a visitor. He couldn’t get anything other kind because his family isn't rich. Yes, that's how it works in Mexico. So, he came here illegally and of course can't use his education. Instead he works a manual labor job to support us. And he makes about 3x more than he would in Mexico using his degree. We have been trying to get his visa through me, his natural born American citizen, for over 2 years now. We aren't even anywhere close to getting it. Even when we do get our appt, he can get a 10 year bar to the country. So, that effects me, too. My son and I (both "Americans") will have to leave the country, too, to be with Dad. Why does this process have to be so complicated? My husband pays his taxes every year, and is a good person to be here. (don't forget that illegal immigrants still have taxes, social security and Medicare taken out of their checks and they 'll most likely never be able to use the social security). also, as far as the jobs no one wants... look at who is cleaning up New Orleans? the majority of them is not the residents that were living there. All of those ppl are still living in apts and hotels that FEMA is paying for, using food stamps and all the other services provided free by the government. And I'm sure that most of the same ppl are not working! Yet, the ppl cleaning up the area, risking their health, are the illegals! but they're taking the jobs that other ppl want?! the the mayor of New Orleans still has the nerve to say he wants to make sure that the city returns to being "chocolate"! And he didn't get any heat for saying it! Why, because he was only talking about the Mexicans! If a white or black were to say that comment about someone else, there would be he*l to pay. as for May 1, it's the equivalent of labor day in Mexico. that's why that day was chosen. it' the day to let the gov't know what a person would like changed, etc. According to what I've heard on the news, if a person wants to protest, they are suppose to ask for the day off, not just skip work! one pp said it was a cheap way to get out of work. I have to disagree since they won't be getting paid and are going to be out protesting!Remember this all started when congress was trying to pass laws, one including that it could be a felony to have an illegal alien your presence. This protest, in my opinion, is just to get the message across that the illegal aliens are not just ppl that don't matter and that value less than us (as I can see that some ppl on this board think). They are all individuals that came here with a dream. Each and every one had a reason to come here, to make life better. And they do make a difference here in the US and our daily lifes. My husband for example came here to be able to send money to his parents. His dad had a stroke and he still sends money to buy medication.Please don't let some high school students protest, who don't evne know what they're protesting, taint the true message that is trying to be sent by the ppl who are trying to protest the right way and the right message.
Tami, proud mommy to my Mexican-American baby, Noah
Poster 9: I am not going to get into the arguments about the topic, but if anyone is interested in what the day is all about, there is a movie called A Day Without a Mexican that came out in 2004 that might shed some light on the topic. Also, ALL Latinos/as will be participating in the marches - not only "illigals." please remember you don't know who is on the other side of the computer, so no matter which side of the issue you are on, please be nice! (Also, don't forget this board is not just used by Americans, so we are representing America here. There are a lot of ppl here from other countries, too!).


JoJo said...

one word.....UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a lurker...someone who found your site via Google once, and enjoyed reading about the progression of the pregnancy and the lovely pictures you were posting. Then I read this post, and it took me two days before I could compose myself enough to write this response.

I have to wonder, for a moment, if what you say can even be taken as credible. To begin with, your immediate assumption of a role which is false erodes any credibility you might have had with your arguments. I'm not a crippled woman, so I don't pretend to be, even to make a point. Passing yourself off as a Mexican-American is deplorable at best.

As for your claims of the economy falling apart if the agricultural sector were to use non-immigrant labor, what is your source? According to the published statistics from the US government, total agricultural exports were $63B, but total goods was $818B, and total goods and services were about $1.1T. Given this data, it's somewhat challenging to take your claims as anything valid.

This country was built on the backs of slaves. There is no question about that. This country loves cheap labor. There is nothing wrong witht that either. A free market economy should be allowed to work. However, the supply of workers should be constrained to the supply that should be there and can legally work. The market will bear what the market will bear. If there are people who are willing to work for less, they will get hired. If prices go up, it invites more market participants. Opposing this view is the same wrong headed thinking that wants a higher minimum wage. The market will determine what people can pay for work. Raising the minimum wage could put some businesses out of business, and everyone loses. How is that a good thing?

You say that as a pregnant woman you cannot fault someone for wanting to come here for a better life for their child. That's a very liberal, and emotional assertion. While there is nothing wrong with it, per se, the borders are American borders. They are not "come as you please because you want a better life" borders. That is at the heart of this whole issue. There are certainly xenophobic hate mongers out there who don't want "damn mexicans" in this country, and I can' say that I agree with those people. Many don't. However, in this time and era in the history of America, to think that we would do anything but try to secure our own border is stupidity on levels I cannot even begin to understand. Do me a favor and try moving to Mexico. See if their government welcomes you the way we do. Same thing for a panopoly of other coutries. It's not your right, as a foreigner, to come here and demand citizenship. You're lucky we even have a path to it. Get in line like everyone else. If you can't afford it, too bad. Sorry, that's just how it goes.

You had someone respond to your post about the strain on the social services. Been to a high school in a border state recently? How about an emergency room on a friday night. Good luck getting what you need as the services are packed to the rafters with people taking but not paying. That *cannot* sustain itself.

There's 11 million illegals here. That people are worried about how it will impact them is significant, though not for the reason you point out. There is no way for people who are opposed to illegal immigration to be heard. Recent polls show that 73% of Americans (that's the whole country, not just you folks on the edges) are very opposed to illegal immigration. But because of the sympathetic extreme left wingers and media, if they say anything, they are branded a racist. So people are worried because there will be plenty of coverage of people in the streets protesting that they want citizenship. Where can the cameras go to show the opposition. More importantly, would the cameras even be there.

Do youself a favor and look at the first images of the last protest that occurred. Lots of Mexican flags. Lots of spanish language signs. Sorry, this is America. You should count youself lucky that you can even protest, even given that you are illegally here. The protesters think this country is theirs anywayl; that they are taking back what the evil American imperialists took from them.

To be sure, Monday will be interesting. They got the message that they should be flying American flags. If they sing the spanish language version of the US national anthem, I can promise you that there will be plenty of very pissed of people, but they will be branded ultra neo con, Rush Limbaugh listening, racist red staters. The only thing that we are doing right now is weakening a country.

I have no problem with Mexicans, or any latino, coming to this country to work. Get in line like everyone else. The government MUST secure the border. A guest worker program might even work, but just like the H1B visa program, there has to be a process and a method to the madness.

Your desire to "present a different point of view" was nothing but a fabrication of lies. Shame on you for stating that you were what you clearly are not (though you appear to be showing very little for someone who is as pregnant as you are). You were trying to stir up trouble, much to your protestation to the contrary. If you weren't, you would not have lied out of the gate. One more thing: if you want to be in this country, then you are an American. Not a Mexican-American. You are an American or you get out. Teddy Roosevelt has a great speech on advocating Americanish...Google it.

Bringing Up Ben said...

Way to go, Christina!
I saw that same thread on the April board (while lurking from the August board)and couldn't believe it. I was so mad that I couldn't even see straight, much less write an intelligent response like you did. So thanks for saying what I couldn't!