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Sofiyya

Cesar Chavez, the UFW and Illegal Immigration

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Filed: Other Country: Israel
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I have stated many times on the OT that I began my career as a human rights advocate with aspects of the Native American rights movement in the 1960's and 70's. My primary focus was on tribal groups without federal recognition and protection. As our activities widened, we linked with Latino and Chicano causes such as the United Farm Workers, which involved people of Native American ancestry without federal recognition. We worked wth events like The Longest walk, The Trail of Broken Treaties and traveled for various cross-national ventures, such as the direction of Brazil's Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI0, and the plight of tin workers in Bolivia.

During this time, I spent time with and got to know many of the icons of the Native and Chicano movements, including Cesar Chavez. Cesar Chavez was a great man, a unique personality, deserving of the kind of admiration and reverence he has garnered. He was a humble man who, unlike many of his contemporaries, lived a very humble life. He fought like a lion to improve the lives, wages and working conditions of field workers, regardless of race. He was one of my flawed, but worthy heroes growing up and it was an honor to have met him.

He was fervently anti-illegal, taking that position because he understood that undocumented scab labor encouraged exploitation of field workers and undermined efforts to improve their negotiating positions. So, it is a corruption of his life, the work he did to protect legal workers, and his patriotism as a proud American that his legacy has been misappropriated by open borders activists, Janet Murguía of La Raza, a group he despised, and even the current leadership of the UFW (who have joined the ranks of the exploiters), in order to present him to this generation as an illegal immigration champion.

Another activist, who knew him when, attests to this revisionist history. Bert Corona, an open borders labor activist was quoted in Memories of Chicano History, The life and narrative of Bert Corona, a 1994 bio about him:

“Later in the 1960’s, when I began to organize undocumented immigrants full-time in the Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, I did have an important difference with Cesar. This involved his, and the union’s, position on the need to apprehend and deport undocumented Mexican immigrants who were being used as scabs by the growers…We supported an open immigration policy, as far as Mexico was concerned, that did not victimize Mexicanos because they did not have documents. We did not support deportation of people.”

In The Fight In The Fields-Cesar Chavez And The Farmworkers Movement, by Susan Ferris and Ricardo Sandoval, we read: “The union has sometimes been characterized as anti-immigrant because Chavez instructed union members to call the INS if they suspected undocumented workers had been brought into struck fields.” They further note: “In 1973, Cesar had sent his cousin Manuel to manage a contract dispute with citrus farmers near Yuma. The subsequent strike had been successful until growers started recruiting workers from Mexico. The union response was to set up what it called a ‘wet line’- a series of outposts maned by UFW supporters assigned to stop incoming workers from crossing the border in uninhabited desert areas and then crossing picket lines.”

It would be wrong to allow this foul attempt to mislead people about Chavez's position on illegal immigration and undocumented workers to succeed. Don't be sheep. Learn about Chavez and his true legacy for yourself.

Thank you for reading this.

Edited by Sofiyya

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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Caesar Chavez was a strong advocate for worker's rights (unions). His efforts in that area are commendable. I've belonged to various different unions throughout my life, including UFCW. Chavez did see that employers using undocumented workers was another form of exploitation, because they had no rights and feared being fired if they organized. What I've been advocating is expanding H-2 Visas for unskilled laborers in such a way that provides them with the rights that other workers have in this country as well as a way to best handle the supply and demand for unskilled labor in this country that has contributed to the high numbers of undocumented immigrants. Whether Caesar Chavez would support that idea or not would be difficult to tell, but in any case, I look at the man's achievements in the labor movement with high regard. It's silly to imply that you must agree with a person's viewpoints 100% of the time to like them. Just look at your position on immigration to that of Reagan's.

Edited by El Buscador

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Caesar Chavez was a strong advocate for worker's rights (unions). His efforts in that area are commendable. I've belonged to various different unions throughout my life, including UFCW. Chavez did see that employers using undocumented workers was another form of exploitation, because they had no rights and feared being fired if they organized. What I've been advocating is expanding H-2 Visas for unskilled laborers in such a way that provides them with the rights that other workers have in this country as well as a way to best handle the supply and demand for unskilled labor in this country that has contributed to the high numbers of undocumented immigrants. Whether Caesar Chavez would support that idea or not would be difficult to tell, but in any case, I look at the man's achievements in the labor movement with high regard. It's silly to imply that you must agree with a person's viewpoints 100% of the time to like them. Just look at your position on immigration to that of Reagan's.

Unskilled means anybody can do the job. The H visa program is for skilled, or professional labor, that cannot be filled by recruiting for those positions in the US. Leaving the argument aside, as to whether farm labor is "unskilled", adding unskilled labor would never qualify for consideration, as long as anybody is unemployed in the US. If employers cannot find adequate unskilled laborers willing to fill the positions in the US, it is only because the employer is unwilling to pay what the labor market wants to charge for those positions. To bring in cheap labor in the form of immigrants is not the purpose of the H visa program, nor should be. There are already enough abuses of the H visa program in hotels, restaurants, and hospitals, to question whether the program should continue at all.

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Filed: Other Country: Israel
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Caesar Chavez was a strong advocate for worker's rights (unions). His efforts in that area are commendable. I've belonged to various different unions throughout my life, including UFCW. Chavez did see that employers using undocumented workers was another form of exploitation, because they had no rights and feared being fired if they organized. What I've been advocating is expanding H-2 Visas for unskilled laborers in such a way that provides them with the rights that other workers have in this country as well as a way to best handle the supply and demand for unskilled labor in this country that has contributed to the high numbers of undocumented immigrants. Whether Caesar Chavez would support that idea or not would be difficult to tell, but in any case, I look at the man's achievements in the labor movement with high regard. It's silly to imply that you must agree with a person's viewpoints 100% of the time to like them. Just look at your position on immigration to that of Reagan's.

This thread is primarily in response to a couple of posts to you infering that your avatar is of a man who supported illegal immigration. The fallacy that he did is alive and well, and clearly pervasive, since, in a generation, it has already taken hold among people who should know better. But, no, there is no reason that you must agree with everything he stood for, atill, with your repuation here as an open borders advocate, it must be confusing for anyone who has bought into the rebirth of this poor, defenseless dead man as a border jumper hero. I wanted to set the record straight.

Edited by Sofiyya

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Unskilled means anybody can do the job. The H visa program is for skilled, or professional labor, that cannot be filled by recruiting for those positions in the US. Leaving the argument aside, as to whether farm labor is "unskilled", adding unskilled labor would never qualify for consideration, as long as anybody is unemployed in the US. If employers cannot find adequate unskilled laborers willing to fill the positions in the US, it is only because the employer is unwilling to pay what the labor market wants to charge for those positions. To bring in cheap labor in the form of immigrants is not the purpose of the H visa program, nor should be. There are already enough abuses of the H visa program in hotels, restaurants, and hospitals, to question whether the program should continue at all.

Expanding the H-2 visa program would work provided that the only reason an employer should look foreign unskilled laborers is when they can reasonably demonstrate that they cannot fill those jobs with local workers. The idea doesn't seem very popular right now because of high unemployment, but during better economic times it makes sense.

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Expanding the H-2 visa program would work provided that the only reason an employer should look foreign unskilled laborers is when they can reasonably demonstrate that they cannot fill those jobs with local workers. The idea doesn't seem very popular right now because of high unemployment, but during better economic times it makes sense.

The question becomes why they cannot fill those jobs with local workers, and that become a matter of economics. As a supporter of unions, you should understand that, unless you continue to believe unions should only function to get Democrats elected to power. Otherwise, why would you support the efforts of employers to exert downward pressure on labor costs by importing cheap labor? The Republican party is a big supporter of H visas, not the Democrats, unless they have sold out as well to the robber barons.

Farm labor is expensive as it is. If you increase the supply of farm laborers, you will only further drive down wages. In this area, farm workers make four or five times the Californa minimum wage. A couple of years ago, after a cold winter, apple trees were yielding a record crop. The biggest producer for Smuckers is one of my clients. The cheap ####### was complaining because his usual crew of Mexican laborers, mostly illegals, held him up for double wages, from $25/hour to $50/hour by picketing his place. He relented, then sold all the trees to his foreman. Now he is going to grapes, screw the apples, and he lets Berringer manage his vineyards.

Edited by ##########

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The question becomes why they cannot fill those jobs with local workers, and that become a matter of economics. As a supporter of unions, you should understand that, unless you continue to believe unions should only function to get Democrats elected to power. Otherwise, why would you support the efforts of employers to exert downward pressure on labor costs by importing cheap labor? The Republican party is a big supporter of H visas, not the Democrats, unless they have sold out as well to the robber barons.

Farm labor is expensive as it is. If you increase the supply of farm laborers, you will only further drive down wages. In this area, farm workers make four or five times the Californa minimum wage. A couple of years ago, after a cold winter, apple trees were yielding a record crop. The biggest producer for Smuckers is one of my clients. The cheap ####### was complaining because his usual crew of Mexican laborers, mostly illegals, held him up for double wages, from $25/hour to $50/hour by picketing his place. He relented, then sold all the trees to his foreman. Now he is going to grapes, screw the apples, and he lets Berringer manage his vineyards.

Limiting H-2 Visas to employers who demonstrate a real need wouldn't saturate the labor market. I'm advocating that H-2 Visas would be able to organize like all other workers. The H-2 Visa program as it stands is not what I'm advocating. I'm advocating a reformed version that is fair to the workers while providing a reasonable method for employers to legally hire foreign laborers when the need arises. A pragmatic solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

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Limiting H-2 Visas to employers who demonstrate a real need wouldn't saturate the labor market. I'm advocating that H-2 Visas would be able to organize like all other workers. The H-2 Visa program as it stands is not what I'm advocating. I'm advocating a reformed version that is fair to the workers while providing a reasonable method for employers to legally hire foreign laborers when the need arises. A pragmatic solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

California already has a de facto program: Once they make it here, turn a blind eye, unless employers are reported to be abusing the illegal laborers.

Federal anti-discrimination laws actually prevents the employer from checking whether or not an employee is actually authorized to work. The employee can offer any identification he wants to satisfy the I-9 requirements, and the employer has to accept the proffered documents as offered, and cannot ask to see any other proof. The employer cannot even verify whether the person on the identification is the one and same person. The DHS will not verify the authenticity of any documents, unless the employer subscribes to E-Verify.

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