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Voice: Don't entrust Valley's future to farmers

January 18, 2002

Yes, Virginia, illegal aliens do work the fields of the Imperial Valley.

A farmer had made the comment that they didn't hire illegal aliens. The majority of the field workers are legal but some do carry false identifications and are illegal.

Immigration services used to raid the fields and find illegal field workers. The farmers were losing many employees; they got the politicians to stop the Border Patrol from raiding their fields. The Border Patrol will not invade a farmer's field.

By not enforcing the law the government allows the farmers to hire illegal aliens.

The farmers won't hire Americans. If you speak English and are from this country, the farmers don't want you as an employee.

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The local farmers don't like paying minimum wage and were attempting to bring in guest workers who would be paid below the minimum wage and have fewer rights.

To convince the U.S. Senate, they said they couldn't find workers to pick their asparagus. California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation investigated and determined it was a lie. On June 25, 1999, CRLAF sent a letter to Sen. Feinstein revealing the allegation to be untrue. The Imperial Valley has an abundance of field workers and doesn't need guest workers.

If the farmer's plan had succeeded, the current field workers would be replaced by guest workers. Those displaced would require more welfare. The guest workers would eventually become legal. Once they were legal the farmer would fire them so not to pay minimum wage and then the guest workers would go on welfare, provided by the taxpayer.

The farmers have a new scheme. They want the public through the Imperial Irrigation District to subsidize their water bill. They have chased away 200 jobs at IID, jobs that will be given to people outside the valley.

It's difficult to find a job here. If you're white and without a college degree, you have it worse because too many employers only want people from Mexicali. Some whites who were born and raised here are leaving the Valley because they can't find jobs.

We need to protect our jobs from the farmers. The farmers have two IID directors in their pocket. In this next election we can remove one, Lloyd Allen, and bring these jobs back to the Valley.

Never entrust your life savings to a gambler or the Valley's future to the farmers.

JOHN GARCIA

Imperial

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