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Jamaican guest workers are filling orchard jobs

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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Clifton Brown, left, and Leon Campbell, stand at their farmworker housing complex near Monse, Wash., last week. They moved to the area from Jamaica. Wenatchee World

K.C. Mehaffey Wenatchee World

BREWSTER, Wash. – Five months after Gebbers Farms fired an undisclosed number of undocumented workers during a federal audit, Jamaican guest workers have started to flow into Brewster to fill some of the jobs.

That's a welcome sign in this town, where residents who held jobs here for 10 and 20 years were suddenly let go following the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement action in December.

Months later, some say the impact wasn't as great as they feared. Many people stayed, or left and came back. The school district – which prepared for a major drop in student numbers – reports that enrollment remained steady, currently at 912 students.

Even if some of those fired moved away to find work, some businesses believe the worst is over. And with new workers arriving, there's a renewed hope that business will continue to pick up.

People here are accustomed to migrant labor. This time, instead of workers from Mexico, they're seeing Jamaican men who are all staying at a newly built Gebbers Farm camp northeast of town.

The camp is made up of rows of bright white buildings separated by walkways and flanked by a large building where dozens of men eat, wash up after their evening meal, or sit at a long central table to watch a big-screen television at one end of the room.

Some were reluctant to talk late last week.

But those who did had few complaints, despite the cold and rainy weather so distant from their tropical island.

"I know it's going to get hot, like, next month," said Leon Campbell, outside the doorway of one of the farmworker houses.

Campbell, 39, said he misses his 16-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son back home in St. Mary, Jamaica. "I call and I speak to them, like, twice a week," he said.

The work in the orchards is "very hard," he said. A builder and mason in his homeland, Campbell said the living facilities are good, and he's happy to have the work. He wishes Brewster were a little closer to Seattle. "This is the last spot in America," he said.

Clifton Brown, 33, said back home he's a farmworker, also from St. Mary. As for coming to the United States, "It's all about work, you know," he said. After just 15 days here, he already decided, "I love it here. I look forward to next year."

Gebbers Farms – a family owned business that operates a packing house and 5,000 acres of orchards – declined to talk about changes in their labor force.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said he was told that the Jamaican guest workers were coming in stages, and would eventually number about 300 workers.

"I think it's excellent," he said. "They're a really good group. Really polite and fun to talk to. It's amazing to me – they're gone so long from their families. That's what I think would be hard," he said.

Business owners said that after the massive firings at Gebbers just after Christmas last year, people stopped spending money.

"That was very painful. Very painful," said Robert Webster, owner of The Music Store on Brewster's Main Avenue. "It lasted quite a while. I think the panic of it was as bad as anything," he said.

Many people stopped spending money because they worried about the impacts of suddenly having so many people out of work. Gebbers Farms would not say how many people were fired, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wouldn't comment on whether Gebbers had been audited.

Enrique Campos, owner of La Moda clothing store, said his sales are still very low, and he doesn't expect that guest workers will bring his business back to where it was.

"They come in to work, but they don't spend money. They keep it all to send home," he said.

http://www.spokesman...g-orchard-jobs/

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I would like to welcome these brown LEGAL immigrants to our great country. Enjoy your stay!!!


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies."

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006



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Filed: Country: Philippines
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I would like to welcome these brown LEGAL immigrants to our great country. Enjoy your stay!!!

They are non-immigrants as they have no legal pathway to immigrate here as laborers.

Also, they've just replaced undocumented workers, so there's no net gain in jobs for Americans - which is one of the arguments being made against amnesty for those who have been working here.

Edited by El Buscador

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Filed: Country: England
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Nice to see that Federal Immigration Law is working somewhere. Illegal alien workers replaced with legal guest workers and an employer shamed/fined/forced into following the law. :thumbs:


Don't interrupt me when I'm talking to myself

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Filed: Country: Belarus
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They are non-immigrants as they have no legal pathway to immigrate here as laborers.

Also, they've just replaced undocumented workers, so there's no net gain in jobs for Americans - which is one of the arguments being made against amnesty for those who have been working here.

These are temporary seasonal workers who obviously live in a migrant camp. They will make more money than they can ever hope to make back home and will return home with enough to live well...in Jamaica. Or they will violate their visa and become illegal aliens in the USA if they think they can get rewarded with amnesty and permanent residency in the Dumbocrats lie they misname "comprehensive immigration reform".

Why don't you post a story about how illegal aliens have taken over what were once relatively high paying jobs in various sectors of the construction industry. I've seen illegal alien welders offshore and they ain't making $3 an hour. There are illegal aliens working in diverse areas of the economy with fake, stolen, and/or counterfeit documents making what would be considered decent wages. Not all illegal aliens are digging ditches, cleaning toilets, and picking strawberries for peanuts.

How naive do you think we are?


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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They are non-immigrants as they have no legal pathway to immigrate here as laborers.

Also, they've just replaced undocumented workers, so there's no net gain in jobs for Americans - which is one of the arguments being made against amnesty for those who have been working here.

whatever

At least they replace the lllegal alien criminal scum.


"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies."

Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006



barack-cowboy-hat.jpg
90f.JPG

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I'd rather these jobs go to low-skilled Americans or legal immigrants (of any color or National Origin), but at least these guest workers are not illegal, which is a step in the right direction.

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These are temporary seasonal workers who obviously live in a migrant camp.

They will make more money than they can ever hope to make back home and will return home with enough to live well...in Jamaica.
Or they will violate their visa and become illegal aliens in the USA if they think they can get rewarded with amnesty and permanent residency in the Dumbocrats lie they misname "comprehensive immigration reform".

Why don't you post a story about how illegal aliens have taken over what were once relatively high paying jobs in various sectors of the construction industry. I've seen illegal alien welders offshore and they ain't making $3 an hour. There are illegal aliens working in diverse areas of the economy with fake, stolen, and/or counterfeit documents making what would be considered decent wages. Not all illegal aliens are digging ditches, cleaning toilets, and picking strawberries for peanuts.

How naive do you think we are?

Where do you get this bunch of bull shyth from?

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whatever

At least they replace the lllegal alien criminal scum.

John

I agree it is atleast someone here legally and are supposed to return home once their guest visa expires.

I also understand your anger towards the Illegal Alien problem calling the scum is not the answer though.

Are they breaking the law being here? yes.

Did they break the law coming here? Some did yes others overstayed their visas.

The issue this farm will face is will these workers maintain there legal status or return home when their visas expire.

(much more expensive to return to Jamaica and other countries that are not exactly adjacent to our country.

Buscador your point that illegal immigrants do not take the American jobs is not exactly a true statment in regards to how this type of employer works.

One of the jobs my mother held in the 80's was for the Illinois Migrant Counsel before the decline in migrant montioring and doumenting.

It was her job to ensure all migrants were documented or could recieve papers; their childen went to school; they recieved welfare assistance; the adults that wished to get an american GED or ;learn english was transported 3 nights a week to the community college (free of charge for it all); the employer provided adequate and safe shelter to the migrants.

These employers seek to hire the cheapest labor they can get their hands on; in my mothers time 5years the pay for picking never increased.

When a farm needed more pickers a call was placed and more migrants were bussed to them through the night from other farms to help.

Typially when migrants show up it is not 1 at a time but can be hundreds depending on the farm size so the typical American that is not educated in how this hiring process works will definitely miss the opportunity.

The typical american doesn't realize that you will make less than miniium wage but when you put in the required work you typically make more than a minimum wage part time job. (depending on how good you are)

Did the legal Jamaican migrant workers replace Amercan jobs? Not in this instance; but no one is arguing against that point. We are arguing that the Illegal Aliens are preventing legal migrants, legal immigrants and United states citizens from accessing these jobs and allowing these type of emplyers to continue business as usual.

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