“Cheap Labor” – Fifty Years of Deception


Senate Judiciary Committee`s
outrageous proposal to
grant amnesty to illegal aliens as well as increase the
numbers of guest workers and non-immigrant work visas
marks another low in government`s endless efforts to

cram more immigration
down the unwilling throats of

In California, where bracero/guest
worker programs started over half a century ago, large
groups of agitators—prodded by

far-left wing socialist and communist groups
to protest H.R. 4437 in

Los Angeles

. Even my little hometown of

, students cut class to carry Mexican flags and
signs in Spanish.

But the party may not turn out
quite the way the organizers hoped. The Internet is
flooded with images of

arrogant aliens
.  Apparently,

Hispanic leaders
can`t or won`t learn from what
happened when similar anti-Proposition 187
demonstrations took place in 1994. Voters, no doubt

and outraged by the

ugliness of the street marches
, overwhelmingly

Prop 187

In the 12-years that have elapsed
since Prop 187,

millions more illegal aliens
have become more
meddlesome and more demanding.

And if you think the

anti-American sentiment
you see outside your window
is scary, just imagine what awaits you if Hispanics get
real control. For a preview, consider the macho,
in-your-face statements of

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

"There are no illegal people
here today "
  said Villaraigosa recently, adding
"America was built on the backs of immigrants." [
rights? How about lawlessness?
, By Joe R. Hicks,
LA Times, April 1, 2006]

Street anarchy
is the predictable outcome of a
nearly a half a century of capitulation to the business,
government and subversive forces that promote more

For more than 50 years, Americans
have passively bought into the concept that

cheap, unskilled labor
—either officially invited by
Congress or present as uninvited intruders—is essential
to our economy.

If only early resistance had been
mounted…if only a modicum of logic had prevailed at the
beginning…if only a shred of political courage had been
exercised, we may have been able to avoid the crisis
swirling around us.

But a look back into history
confirms that the problem all along has been wages —
not a shortage of willing workers.

(My source here: Bracero
Politics: Longest Crap Game in California`s Agricultural
, by William Turner,

Ramparts Magazine,

September 1965, not online.)

In January 1959, Edmund G. “Pat”
Brown, California`s newly elected

, took office.

A former painter`s union attorney
and civil rights leader, Brown gave early indications
that he would resist agribusiness pressure to retain the

bracero program

that brought cheap labor from

Mexico to California.

Brown insisted that he would
improve the

working conditions

native California farm laborers
impoverished by

For starters, Brown proposed

farm laborers
in a state minimum wage hike to $1.25
an hour from the existing level of 90 cents.

Said Brown:

If a
person is worth hiring, he is worth paying a decent
living wage. The

special interest group
which denies that imperils
its own future as well as California`s.”

Brown`s sense of fair play didn`t
last long.

Within two years, Brown was
completely in the pocket of

giants like California Packing (Del
Monte) and Hunt Foods and Industries.

And in turn the

Bank of America
controlled the food packers and
growers. The bank insisted on the lowest payroll
possible…that meant hiring braceros even though
domestic workers were available at the minimum wage.

By spring 1965, with the bracero
program facing increasing opposition because of flagrant
exploitation of

Mexican workers
by agribusiness, growers like

Salinas Strawberries, Inc
. predicted their crops
would rot if more pickers weren`t brought in from


farmer Les Grube and his Community
Recruitment of Personnel easily proved that the variable
wasn`t available workers but wages.

Grube immediately offered $1.40 an
hour—the mandatory minimum wage set by U.S. Secretary of
Labor Willard Wirtz before growers could hire
—and quickly filled up buses headed to


The revised pay scale—a 40 percent
hike—confirmed what Grube and the

Agricultural Workers Organizing
Committee had been saying all along…that allegations of
worker shortages were nothing but grower`s hype.

According to the AWOC director, C.
Al Green:

fact is there have been few real efforts made to attract
United States farm workers. The wages offered are low
and the working conditions miserable. When real efforts
have been made to attract U.S. farm workers, the workers
have responded with enthusiasm

And when the wage offered was
higher than the minimum, the results were dramatic.

During the summer of 1965, Blythe,
CA-melon growers increased their pay scale to $1.75 plus
a 25 cent an hour bonus to workers who stayed to the end
of the harvest. They ended up turning away domestic
workers, many of whom had traveled from out-of-state in
the hope of earning a decent wage.

In the mid-1960s, Congress finally
killed the bracero program.

But after the bracero
program ended, illegal alien workers started flooding
in. And they have never stopped coming. In short order
the aliens, providing the cheapest labor, reduced Cesar
Chavez`s United Farm Workers Union to shell of its once
powerful self.

(Read Steve Sailer`s analysis


Nevertheless, California growers
still make the same

labor shortage

any reference to wages
— by repeating their
predictable lie every spring with

precision: “We have no one pick the
raisins, the grapes, the peaches, etc

(This suggestion just in from

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
: “I say let the
prisoners pick the fruit.”

Fascinating: agribusiness

creates a domestic shortage
by refusing to pay a
living wage; then complains about it to Congress and

more poor workers
from Mexico and Central America –
whose cost is partly borne by the American taxpayer
through free schools, Emergency Room health care etc.

Now Congress, never one to dig too
deeply for the facts, is poised to make its most
colossal immigration mistake ever.

During the bracero program,
anywhere from two to five million Mexicans came to the
U.S. But today

wants to open the doors for many million
more plus legalize the

20 million
already illegally living here.

And what about

real border security
to keep out more illegal aliens
who might under cut the guest workers? Good luck.

But don`t abandon hope.

The biggest difference between the
1960s and the early 21st Century is public
awareness.  Every American`s eyes are finally open.

The furious public outcry to the
Senate`s sell-out reverberates throughout the nation.

Here`s my take: this is where we
have fought for years to be!

Our cause is front-page national
news every day. Talk-show radio hosts back us 99

Internet bloggers
and public opinion are
overwhelmingly in our corner.

Those on the other side look
foolish, at best. Whether they are

marching in the streets or

pompous legislators
bloviating in Congress, their
actions have an air of desperation about them.

Fear not. We cannot win without
just this kind of turf war.

Our day is coming. And it may be
here sooner than you think.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.