Tomatoes and cheap immigrant labor

If you're a regular reader of this Sunday column, you are acutely aware that I stay clear of anything that has to do with politics. Heaven knows there are enough on the opinion pages already.

But an e-mail I received recently from a teacher friend of mine almost made blood shoot out of my eyes. It wasn't that I didn't already know most of what she mentions, it's just that it reminded me how "politically correct" this country has become, and it will get worse if we don't wise up. Keep in mind these are her words, not mine.

She begins: Tony, as you listen to the news about protests over illegal immigration, there are some things those of us living in Arizona should know.

I am in charge of the English As A Second Language Department at a southern Arizona school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic and income levels. Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I am not talking a glass of milk and sweet roll, but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would rate as good as one you would receive from a Marriott.

The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (Our tax dollars at work.)

I estimate that well over 50 percent of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. Seventy-five percent or more have cell phones. The school provides day-care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend classes without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids. (Our tax dollars at work.)

I was recently ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who, obviously, feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America. I have had to intervene many times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist mainly of illegal immigrant students here in this country less than three months who raised so much hell with female teachers and throwing things at the teachers until they were in tears and forced to flee the classroom

Free medical, free education, free food, free day care., etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country illegally but to demand rights and privileges?

For those of you who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they like their gardener and housekeeper, and they like to pay less for fruits and vegetables, let me point out the REAL world of immigration so you can see the TRUE costs.

Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education, overcrowding, new diseases, etc. We need to wake up. The government guest worker program will be a disaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it. Does anyone in their right mind really think illegal immigrants will voluntarily leave and return?

A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school at age 15, and that refuses to assimilate, and an American culture that has become so weak and worried about "politically correctness" that we don't have the will to do anything about it, is destined to destroy themselves.

Cheap labor! This is what it's all about. Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage. Consumers don't want expensive produce. Take for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five kids. He takes a job for $6 an hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays NO income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an income tax return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200.

He also qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent, food stamps, free (no deductible and no co-pay) health care, free breakfasts and lunches at school for his kids, free bilingual teachers and books, and relief from high energy bills.

If they are or become blind, aged or disabled, they qualify for Social Security. Once qualified, they can qualify for Medicare all at taxpayers' expense. This family also doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance or homeowners insurance. We taxpayers also provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material. He and his family also receive the equivalent of $20 to $30 per hour in benefits. The American taxpayer also pays for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up. Cheap labor? I don't think so. Wake up, people, and do something about it.

This is her story in her own words.