I’ve been farming in Goleta since 1977. I started in my 20s, and now I’m in my 60s. Like most of us along in years, we ask ourselves where did the time go?
My father tried to instill some work ethic in my brother and me in our early teens and made us work the summers on the ranch.
Here we were, a couple of skinny guys spending all day with grown men who teased the hell out of us. Good-natured, of course. And we learned a little Spanish in the process from the Mexican workers: Every single swear word there was. Even though we didn’t even make $1 an hour, it did give us an appreciation of what it’s like to get up every day and work in the heat of summer, drag garden hoses up the side of a mountain to water trees and dig holes to plant more trees that were going to need more water.
I hated it, and I’m grateful my father made us do it.
When we got older, my brother went off doing other things, and I ended up managing the farms for the next four decades. My father took a chance with me. I had zero knowledge how to manage a ranch and handle employees, all of whom had entered the country illegally from Mexico. In those days, ranch workers still feared immigration. But as time went by, that fear faded because eventually deportations became rare.
I’ll admit that without the Mexican labor force, no California farmer could have made it. Still can’t. The work is hard from bending over picking strawberries or carrying an 80-pound bag of avocados down the side of a mountain. Because I had worked with these field workers many years earlier, I had come to appreciate how tough it really was. I made many friends and long-term relationships that still exist today.
As our ranch operations grew, so did our dependence and survival on this illegal labor force. A lot of my employees have now aged out, but most stayed with me for those three to four decades.
So what’s the point of what I just shared? Well, one of my younger employees who has been with me for 26 years recently lost his sister and father in Mexico to COVID-19. He went back for the first time in those 26 years to visit what was left of his family.
He said his mother couldn’t stop crying for an hour. He also said Mexico was bad before, but it’s beyond words now. He said he feared for his life, and he’s Mexican. No one goes out at night. He said the news was filled with nothing but shooting and killings. He said trucks full of oxygen tanks for virus patients are stolen daily and put on the Internet.
People with severe cases of COVID are left to die in the ambulance because they simply can’t be treated. His witnessing the death and hardships had a significant impact on him.
His mother begged him to stay, but he said he couldn’t. He had built a life in America, and he told me he would never go back to Mexico. He appreciates his new home more than ever before. He said even the homeless have it better here.
My heart breaks for him and people like him. Millions come to America for that dream of a better life. And even the worst life here is better than Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and all the rest.
But we can’t take them all.
If we open the doors like President Joe Biden is doing, entire countries will flood America. And you can’t blame them, but the sad reality is, it’s not our problem. It’s a South American problem. And they’ve turned their problem into our problem, which has now become more political than ever.
Since former President Donald Trump’s departure, the flood gates are reopening. Border crossings are soaring, and that is bringing more COVID-19 to America. Texas has opened hotels to house migrants with COVID with tax dollars. President Biden has built his own new set of cages for the kids. Does this get media coverage? You think it would have if Mr. Trump did it?
Compassion comes with a huge price. There is no way we can manage the influx of millions more to America. We can’t even figure out how to distribute a vaccine or open our schools.
What makes us think we can properly deal with millions more of an undereducated population who are nearly 100% reliable on some form of subsidy, who utilize free education, overload our medical services, get free lunches, government benefits and pay no taxes? We’ve never been able to do it right, and we never ever will be able to do it right.
As a suggestion for a possible cure: Instead of using tax dollars to subsidize abortions, why don’t we figure out a way to send those billions to help these impoverished nations who really do need it?
And not through their governments but through organizations who will distribute the money and put the help directly into the mouths and hands who need it. We’ll never fix the massive corruption in those countries, just like we can’t even fix it here at home, but we can make a difference.
It isn’t really our problem to do this, but then again it is. The most humanitarian thing we can do is help those people in their own countries, where they’d prefer to live anyway with their families.
And as for getting farm help, we modernize the bracero program. Work permits would allow farmers to get the help they need, provide legal jobs to our southern friends and manage our border. It’s absolutely mandatory we maintain our sovereignty. If Democrats have their way and South America gets to freely overflow our country, the list of devastation is too long to write here.
And one more thing. I know this isn’t politically correct, but Santa Barbara County has been hit with an influx of murders and shootings lately. Most if not all those involved have Hispanic surnames. These gang members are products of the huge inflow of illegal aliens into California, the entire country. These are facts, and yet everyone wants to bury their heads to avoid speaking up for fear of retribution in this PC world. We are silenced to admit the truth.
If you add millions more of these immigrants, this problem will only worsen exponentially, especially since these days no one goes to jail anymore.
Democrats have to stop exploiting human beings for political gain. They like to pander how much they care about the immigrants, but their actions create even more hardships. And just because they say they care, doesn’t mean others don’t. The issue is complex and simple at the same time.
Everyone who comes into the United States does it legally. Done.
The author lives in Solvang.