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Blame for worker's death extends to many parties

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Posted: Friday, June 13, 2008 10:00 pm

Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, the pregnant 17-year-old Mexican illegal alien laborer who died last month while working in a Lodi vineyard, has sparked a host of controversies.

The debate's focus centers on who is to blame for the sad death of this young girl.

Most of the attention correctly falls on Jimenez's employer, Merced Farm Labor, a contractor with a history of disregarding worker safety.

But the list of accomplices is long.

First comes Mexico, a country that steadfastly refuses to carry out the basic governmental responsibility of providing for its citizens.

Even though Mexico is one of the world's wealthiest nations and home to the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, it will not lift a finger - or should I say tax its elites? - on behalf of its people.

Accordingly, with Mexico's blessing and encouragement, the most desperate of its populace seeks haven in the United States.

Unbelievably and without a critical word from the U.S., two years ago Mexico issued a comic book titled "Guide for the Mexican Migrant" with helpful hints about how to cross into America and stay out of trouble once you arrive.

Mexican presidents, the unabashed hypocrites Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, have come to the U.S. to praise alien workers as "heroes" and vital to our economy.

Is, I wonder, Jimenez one of Fox's heroes?

Second on my list is President George W. Bush, a primary abettor of illegal immigration. Since his first days in the White House, Bush has repeatedly uttered such nonsense as "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande," "America is a nation of immigrants" and "immigrants do jobs Americans won't."

Each statement grossly distorts the truth and is interpreted in Mexico as an open invitation to come north.

Not only has Bush refused to secure the border, he sanctioned the outrageous jail sentence handed down to Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean for pursuing a known Mexican drug dealer.

As recently as a week ago, Bush pulled the National Guard from the border, making it easier yet to cross into the southwestern United States.

The third culprit is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, highly visible at Jimenez's funeral and making the same old predictable promises about reform.

As an enormously popular Hollywood movie star and legal immigrant, Schwarzenegger could have shifted the state's bitter argument about illegal immigration to a higher plane by reinforcing the concept of obeying immigration law.

Instead, Schwarzenegger fell in line with Bush by endorsing amnesty. Any statement that encourages amnesty welcomes illegal immigrants - come on over, you may get lucky!

Fourth, the Mexican ethnic identity organizations and Washington, D.C. lobbyists like La Raza and League of United Latin American Citizens, who feign compassion for Mexicans but are only concerned about protecting their six-figure salaries.

For the last three years, you've seen them waving their placards at illegal alien May Day protest marches: "No human is illegal!" - as if enforcing immigration law were a statement about the human condition.

Fifth, the mainstream media, which for 20 years has refused to report honestly on illegal immigration.

The phrase "undocumented worker" never existed until the media coined it. And America's debate is not - as the media would have you believe - about "immigrants and immigration" - but about illegal immigration.

As the media knows but ignores, an immigrant is someone who enters the U.S through a port of entry with a valid visa - not someone who climbs over a wire fence in the dark of night.

For as long as anyone can remember, America has laid out the red carpet: Get to the U.S. and claim an array of social services. The statistical probability of deportation is infinitesimally small.

And in the last 10 years, the U.S. has become even more gracious to illegal immigrants - offering home mortgages, accepting transparently fake identification as valid work documents and even, in some states, issuing driver's licenses.

At the same time, obvious flaws in our immigration system remain unchecked. Jimenez's case brings to mind the foolish birthright citizenship clause that would have allowed her child to become an American citizen.

Birthright citizenship was ended years ago in most Western countries.

California has revoked Merced Farm Labor's license.

That's not enough. I'd like to see the principals sentenced to long jail terms and meaningful monetary fines.

For those indirectly responsible, listed above, may they come to their senses before more lives are needlessly lost.

Joe Guzzardi is an instructor at the Lincoln Technical Academy. Contact him at

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