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Migrant farm workers are pawns

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POSTED January 4, 2018 1:44 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I read Jim Hightower when he is lucky enough to get a 300-word opinion in the Bulletin.  Meanwhile I read wingnuts from the right such as Buchanan and Bozell that are in the thousands of words almost daily.  They often rant that the media is so liberal as to be incapable of reporting anything true.  They hope the reader will ignore the fact that they are making such assertions — wait for it — right there in the very media they accuse of being “leftist.” 
All Bulletin readers need to do to assess the Bulletin’s political leanings is to count the words of opinions offered by Buchanan, Bozell, and others like them vs those like Hightower. 
Hightower’s most recent “Perspective” was a small piece on a huge subject; the importance of migrant workers in the fields in California and elsewhere in the U.S.  You see, I worked as a Health Services Coordinator for Migrant Education, administered by the Merced County Office of Education, for 24 years and I witnessed first-hand some of the horrible treatment of migrant workers by some (not all) Central Valley Farmers.  One good example is the family with young children playing in the yard outside an employer provided shack they were living in where there was raw sewage seeping out on top of the ground. 
Farmers and food processors all across America have mistreated and severely abused migrant workers for personal gain while singing the praises of Jesus on Sunday mornings for the bounty they had received, directly attributable to the back breaking work of these “illegal immigrants.”  In 2016, in California, this was $45.3 billion.  They have done this for at least seven decades. 
These people are nothing more than pawns in the hands of big agriculture and politicians who seek to use them in whatever way they see fit.  And now, our President seeks to add a question to the 2020 census that will scare them from registering their presence here for fear of legal retaliation; affecting the accuracy of the numbers of these residents and therefore keeping their numbers hidden. This will affect government appropriations to districts where they are merely “phantoms,”  which means lower funding for those districts.   And please, don’t give me that B.S. that they get free government services and don’t pay any taxes.  I have never seen a checker at a store ask if one was an “illegal” so that they paid no taxes on their purchases.  I have never seen a gas station refuse the tax portion of their purchases there.  As a matter of fact, I have never heard of them asking not to be taxed because of their citizenship status, have you?  All of the studies on the subject show that they contribute far more in taxes than costs of any government services they have received.  That is fact, not myth.
We have a chronic situation that needs a satisfactory solution.  Why has there been no such satisfactory solution after all of these years?  Someone must be profiting handsomely from their misfortune.
Mike Killingsworth

Editor’s note: Jim Hightower’s syndicated columns that appear in the Bulletin and other newspapers that purchase them run between 285 and 320 words based on his writing style. Other columns such as Susan Estrich (who tends to take stances that would be viewed as liberal) and Brent Bozell (who is definitely conservative) run between 600 and 800 words. They are not edited for content or length. Patrick Buchannan, a conservative, runs right around 900 words. Those lengths are determined by the syndicate and columnist as part of their marketing of the columns. The Bulletin runs columns that are often longer than 1,000 words gleaned by Associated Press from universities across the nation. The majority of those tend to have a more liberal bent.

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