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  1. #1
    OAP Theophylact's Avatar
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    The law of unintended consequences strikes again:

    Immigration Raid Cripples Ga. Town

    By RUSS BYNUM Associated Press Writer

    September 15,2006 | STILLMORE, Ga. -- Trailer parks lie abandoned. The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce. Business has dried up at stores where Mexican laborers once lined up to buy food, beer and cigarettes just weeks ago.

    This Georgia community of about 1,000 people has become little more than a ghost town since Sept. 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal immigrants.

    The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.

    More than 120 illegal immigrants have been loaded onto buses bound for immigration courts in Atlanta, 189 miles away. Hundreds more fled Emanuel County. Residents say many scattered into the woods, camping out for days. They worry some are still hiding without food.

    At least one child, born a U.S. citizen, was left behind by his Mexican parents: 2-year-old Victor Perez-Lopez. The toddler's mother, Rosa Lopez, left her son with Julie Rodas when the raids began and fled the state. The boy's father was deported to Mexico.

    "When his momma brought this baby here and left him, tears rolled down her face and mine too," Rodas said. "She said, `Julie, will you please take care of my son because I have no money, no way of paying rent?'"

    For five years, Rodas has made a living watching the children of workers at the Crider Inc. poultry plant, where the vast majority of employees were Mexican immigrants. She learned Spanish, and considered many immigrants among her closest friends. She threw parties for their children's birthdays and baptisms.

    The only child in Rodas' care now, besides her own son, is Victor. Her customers have disappeared.

    Federal agents also swarmed into a trailer park operated by David Robinson. Illegal immigrants were handcuffed and taken away. Almost none have returned. Robinson bought an American flag and posted it by the pond out front -- upside down, in protest.

    "These people might not have American rights, but they've damn sure got human rights," Robinson said. "There ain't no reason to treat them like animals."

    The raids came during a fall election season in which immigration is a top issue.

    Last month, the federal government reported that Georgia had the fastest-growing illegal immigrant population in the country. The number more than doubled from an estimated 220,000 in 2000 to 470,000 last year. This year, state lawmakers passed some of the nation's toughest measures targeting illegal immigrants, and Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue last week vowed a statewide crackdown on document fraud.

    Other than the Crider plant, there isn't much in Stillmore. Four small stores, a coin laundry and a Baptist church share downtown with City Hall, the fire department and a post office. "We're poor but proud," Mayor Marilyn Slater said, as if that is the town motto.

    The 2000 Census put Stillmore's population at 730, but Slater said uncounted immigrants probably made it more than 1,000. Not anymore, with so many homes abandoned and the streets practically empty.

    "This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up," Slater said.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Marc Raimondi would not discuss details of the raids. "We can't lose sight of the fact that these people were here illegally," Raimondi said.

    At Sucursal Salina No. 2, a store stocked with Mexican fruit sodas and snacks, cashier Alberto Gonzalez said Wednesday that the owner may shutter the place. By midday, Gonzalez has had only six customers. Normally, he would see 100.

    The B&S convenience store, owned by Keith and Regan Slater, the mayor's son and grandson, has lost about 80 percent of its business.

    "These people come over here to make a better way of life, not to blow us up," complained Keith Slater, who keeps a portrait of Ronald Reagan on the wall. "I'm a die-hard Republican, but I think we missed the boat with this one."

    Crider President David Purtle said the agents began inspecting the company's employment records in May. They found 700 suspected illegal immigrants, and supervisors handed out letters over the summer ordering them to prove they came to the U.S. legally or be fired. Only about 100 kept their jobs.

    The arrests started at the plant Sept. 1. Over the Labor Day weekend, agents with guns and bulletproof vests converged on workers' homes after getting the addresses from Crider's files.

    Antonio Lopez, who came here two years ago from Chiapas, Mexico, and worked at the Crider plant, said agents kicked in his front door. Lopez, 32, and his 15-year-old son were handcuffed and taken by bus to Atlanta with 30 others. Because of the boy, Lopez said, both were allowed to return. In his back pocket, he carries an order to return to Atlanta for a court hearing Feb. 2.

    But now, "there's no people here and I don't have any work," he said.

    The poultry plant has limped along with half its normal workforce. Crider increased its starting wages by $1 an hour to help recruit new workers.

    Stacie Bell, 23, started work canning chicken at Crider a week ago. She said the pay, $7.75 an hour, led her to leave her $5.60-an-hour job as a Wal-Mart cashier in nearby Statesboro. Still, Bell said she felt bad about the raids.

    "If they knew eventually that they were going to have to do that, they should have never let them come over here," she said.
    Notice that if they'd paid a decent wage (that is, more than Wal-Mart does), they could have had legal workers all along...
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley

  2. #2
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ no1_vern's Avatar
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    A penny saved is a worker spurned.

    It always, ALWAYS comes down to the bottom line. Its cheaper to pay below minimum wage to Illegals and hope to not get caught than to pay legitimate people a decent wage.
    They say technology slows down for no one. I know it outruns my wallet. I figure its because my wallet isn't light enough yet.

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  3. #3
    Indispensable Member surreal's Avatar
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    The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.

    I don't think some realize just how much this will have an effect on some areas.
    "Sometimes life is just what we make it."

  4. #4
    BBA
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    So?

    You do understand that is the problem that perpetuates itself. You either grab the bull by the horns or you get trampled.

    It's sad this happened but no one did anyone any favors by allowing illegal immigrants to create this scenario.
    BBA

  5. #5
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    Of course some areas will be impaired. That's life. I know of a dozen or so small towns that would have a terrible time recovering. It's sad some towns will have to suffer because of greedy business owners. It is the employers fault for hiring them in the first place.


    It would be nice to see Crider Inc pay massive fines.


    But now, "there's no people here and I don't have any work," he said.

    He can go back to Mexico to find work then. More than 2/3 the population is still there...hardly a ghost town.

  6. #6
    Indispensable Member surreal's Avatar
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    Hmm wonder what kind a vacuum would be created in Los Angles county if they woke up tomorrow and the illegals and their local spending would be gone....
    "Sometimes life is just what we make it."

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    Lets find out.


    Better yet, lets start with South Florida.

  8. #8
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    Let's have an open border policy. Then there isn't an illegal immigrant problem.

  9. #9
    The Jiggawatts, Marty! tony_j15's Avatar
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    lets have an open v*g*n* policy. then there isn't a rape problem.
    All 1.21 of them.

  10. #10
    Go back to sleep Creatures's Avatar
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    hm one word: capitalism ;p

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  11. #11
    Senior Member evereddie's Avatar
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    For decades now small towns have been dying all over the country and was it due to shipping out illegal immigrants? No, it was due to shipping out jobs. Due to automation. Due to those products and services not being needed anymore. Due to corporate mergers. Due to downsizing. Due to a whole barn full of reasons and did any of you ‘open the border types' get concerned for our own LEGAL citizens? Bet not!

    If we were to just open the borders more than they are now, (and they are open now BTW) there would be such a flood of people, working more of our jobs than ever before, no one would have any money except the greedy big Business owners who helped make this injustice happen in the first place.

    I'm all for giving anyone a chance but letting this situation continue or get worse by letting everyone in is just using and abusing the immigrant workers. Is that what you really want or do you just want to be selfish and FEEL better about everything without looking at the consequences.

  12. #12
    BBA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tramp429 View Post
    Lets find out.


    Better yet, lets start with South Florida.

    I'd love to see that happen!

    Of course, we let them come to Florida legally from Cuba...all they have to do is make it to shore and they get citizenship.
    BBA

  13. #13
    BBA
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    Quote Originally Posted by cunokyle View Post
    Let's have an open border policy. Then there isn't an illegal immigrant problem.
    Right...good thinking. Why don't we just abandon our principals, our constitution and our gevernment while were at it.

    I bet it wouldn't be long before we were back to gunslinging days and being oppressed by the biggest bully around.
    Last edited by BBA; September 15th, 2006 at 07:53 PM.
    BBA

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBA View Post
    Right...good thinking. Why don't we just abandon our principals, our constitution and our gevernment while were at it.

    I bet it wouldn't be long before we were back to gunslinging days and being oppressed by the biggest bully around.
    Abandon our principles? Which principles might you be speaking of? There seems to be a different principal involved between myself welcoming immigrants and others that are opposed to immigration. Tell me, would it be a problem if every one of the illegal immigrants was legal? Or is it just because they are illegal?

    Abandon our constitution? You mean the one that was written up by people trying to find a new life for themselves in a place that offered them the opportunity? The ones that left the country they originated from and immigrated to America? Immigrants, every one of them. Were they legal immigrants? By what some people are saying, America would have never become a nation if the actual "Natives" of the land were able to keep out the illegal immigrants they had to deal with. Do you not think that some of the native Americans felt the way some of us do now?

    Gunslinger days? How about the best worker for the job days?

    Again, I am not sure which principles are the issue here.

    Would some of you rather we gather up all of the illegal immigrants and toss them into holding areas until we can deport them? Or, hell, why not, lets just kill them all in gas chambers? That way we can be sure that there will be no more trying to get into "OUR" country? We can then round up all of those that loo like they might be illegal as well. We will be sure to send a signal to any possible illegals that way!

    I am honestly disgusted with the attitude that it is "our" country. This is noone's country. It is the land of the free! A place for hope and opportunity for those that wish to achieve a higher standard of life. This country was founded by people seeking to better their lives for themselves and families. Now, we, the descendants of these immigrants are trying to deny this privelage to others?


    This might not have come out the way I intended, but, I feel that everyone should be given the opportunity you and I have. Maybe instead of spending all of our time and money on finding ways to opress others and their right to freedome and a good lie, we should be loking at ways to overcome this hurdle and work with Mexico and other countries to make them a place that people seek opportunity in as well?

  15. #15
    Super Stealthy Moderator RicheemxX's Avatar
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    I have to agree with evereddie looks at place like Detroit and other blue collar towns, or places where military bases were the foundation of the economy. They either adapt or move on.

    I was talking with a friend that lives in Lodi {big grape area}. He said grapes are rotting on the vine because they can't find workers that will work at the pay they are willing to offer. In part it's because of the low total number of workers, but its also due to the fact that the workers that are here can work elsewhere and make more money.

    Now thats not entirely the farmers fault. He already negotiated with the winery for a set price and is pretty much locked into what he can afford to pay and still make money or break even. Not to mention the higher prices for transportation due to gass prices!

    The consumer "ME" is not willing to pay more for wine, the winery isn't going to pay more for grapes, the farmer isn't going to pay more to workers, so the workers go other places and make more money. such a vicious cycle

    IMO there isn't anything wrong with immagration doing it illegally is the issue

    How about the best worker for the job days?
    if the system only worked that way
    Last edited by RicheemxX; September 16th, 2006 at 08:14 PM.
    Be a Liberal, blame everyone else!!

  16. #16
    Ultimate Member Chuckiechan's Avatar
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    We have been "banking" the productivity gains made through the years by buying products from companies using illegal aliens. Now, people have had enough.

    We are going to pay the "bank" back in the form of higher prices. I won't like it, but I understand it. Maybe we can get some people out of the big cities into the smaller towns to work agriculture instead of sitting around waiting for a job to come along.
    It's OK to Stonewall on the IRS Probes: "In Republican Hands, the IRS Will be a Force for Good"

  17. #17
    Rather Large Member Beemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cunokyle View Post
    This is noone's country.
    And here I thought it was a sovereign country.

    Going through the process of immigration is the rule and the only way. Break the rule and you really don't want to be in the States.

    Even if you go through the "legal" process of immigration, isn't there a "Keep Your Nose Clean for 3 years" detail?

    Illegals avoid the legal process and jump right into the dirty nose category.

    Any town basing its labour force on illegal labour is taking a known chance. Why cry about the crack down when it was known what could happen if the government goes in to clean house?

    I have an idea. I'll move down to Florida illegally, lead a quiet life and bitch when they come to get me years later. Surely some kind of Grandfather clause will save me!

    Not!

    No one can call these folks immigrants without the pretext, "illegal" because of the lack of documentation.

    "There's a right way and a wrong way to do things" my father told me. "The sooner you start doing things the right way, the better life gets."

    I believe the United States Government is justified in their deportation & detainment actions. These aren't trusting times and it's better to know who is living in your country, using your medical facilaties, voting in the elections, criminal checks before entry, etc. The U.S. has the right to scrutinise who is granted "Legal" immigrant status.

    Not to hard to understand.
    “Religion: Together we can find the cure.”

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beemer View Post

    I believe the United States Government is justified in their deportation & detainment actions. These aren't trusting times and it's better to know who is living in your country, using your medical facilaties, voting in the elections, criminal checks before entry, etc. The U.S. has the right to scrutinise who is granted "Legal" immigrant status.

    Not to hard to understand.
    We agree on this. However, I also believe that we should make it easier to attain citizenship status...but still have a probationary period for the new immigrants.

  19. #19
    BBA
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    Quote Originally Posted by cunokyle View Post
    Abandon our principles? Which principles might you be speaking of?
    The one called the law.


    Or is it just because they are illegal?

    BINGO!

    You do have the ability to reason, you should use it more often.
    BBA

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBA View Post
    The one called the law.





    BINGO!

    You do have the ability to reason, you should use it more often.
    Like I said, if we made it an open border policy, there would be no problem then according to your statement.

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