Have you heard about the "colonias"?

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Heard a worker from D.C. on shortwave last night who said the gov was building communities all over the southwest to receive the millions of immigrants expected from Mexico. Have any of you cowboys and girls out there in the big dusty wide open seen any evidence of this?

-- Rags (RaggedReb@aol.com), February 16, 2002


Nada aqui, amigo. Pero no vivo en al oeste. Ah, Amereeka!;). I'm working on learning spanish a bit more. Honestly, I wouldn't be happy to see anyone in a "government compound".

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), February 16, 2002.

Now Doreen where do you think *their* going to send us chip renagade's Yes I remember your talking about a brass & lead implant....I shure hope not.

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), February 16, 2002.

And I remember you saying you wanted one in each cheek! silly man---:-) I sure hope not!

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), February 16, 2002.

Yes I did.

Oh my.....

-- Jim-mi (hartalteng@voyager.net), February 17, 2002.

Estimada Doreena, dos peliculas neuvas tienen muchas frases actuales y muy de modo de castellano Mejicano y son buenas para aprender y practicar--son "Traffic" y "Amores Perros".

-- Rags (RaggedReb@aol.com), February 18, 2002.

Yeah Rags, colonias down here in south Texas have been a fact for years.

Basically, these properties are sold to poor Mexican / Latin American immigrants, who basically bring nothing to start with, and thus are forced to buy any low priced property. These properties are prone to flooding when it rains, hence the low cost to begin with. Whenever it rains, these colonias often have a foot of water inside their homes, and have massive mosquito infestations that occur several days later. Even their streets remain flooded for days on end. They feature unpaved streets (a basic road base is luxury), and many times do not have running water run into each shack. An outside hose bibb is generally used for several families to get their household water.

House construction varies, but many colonia are started with wood pallet walls, with exterior unpainted siding, interior cardboard faced walls. A simple light bulb, strung on an extension cord, is used throughout the house, pulled along to the area needed. A chamber pot serves as their restroom, and sponge bathing / wash tubs used for bathing facilities.

This is exremely hard to see, if you are used to America being the "land of plenty", but a good lesson to kids who think that being given a car with hand cranked windows is roughing it. These colonias are no different from the Appalachian poverty seen in some of our American states. Many of the colonias citizens are blamed as lazy people who emigrated just to receive free government handouts. But it really is the opopsite.

There are places in large cities where people congregate who are looking for day laborers. These day laborers are compromised from people who are drug users, alcoholics who have lost their vehicles or drivers licenses, and illegal immigrants, who cannot have paperwork connected to them because. . . well, because they aren't supposed to be here. These day services include painting contractors, lawn services, construction companies, etc. These jobs generally are work that is labor intensive. Work that most people pay others to get out of doing themselves. Many illegal immigrants do this work, because that is the only work they can get. The people hiring them take a risk now a days; I think they get fined for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

That is a short story of what is going on down here in south Texas. Feel free to agree or disagree, but that is reality down here.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), February 19, 2002.

Thanks so much for the info, J.R. that helps explain the news report. I'm from Appalachia and my old neighborhood had the same amenities-- tarpaper and cardboard shacks, dirt roads, no water lines, and I've done a whole lot of the type of day labor you describe. You even left out one category of job these poor folks have to take--dangerous ones. During my sojourns in that lifestyle I've pulled asbestos out of school buildings until blood ran out of my eyes, put up T.V. antennaes on two and three story houses on mountain brows, crawled into spidery, snakey crawl spaces and jacked up houses and installed ductwork, worked a headgate at a stockyard grabbing bellowing snotting steers slinging their horns every which way by the neck and holding them for a vet to vaccinate and ear tag, welded high steel and iron rigged, and worked 12 hour days in 240 decibels in the North American version of maquiladoras. And your right, zillions of equally poor wretches are pouring across the border.

But they're not just in Texas. Here in north Alabama there are so many Mexicans at the trade days you would think you were in Guadalajara, not Gadsden. The second biggest newspaper in our county is called El Latino and it is published in Spanish only.

-- Rags (nobody@nowhere.org), February 19, 2002.

I didn't know these colonias extended that far north. But am not totally surprised; the rate of latin americans moving here is enormous.

And please forgive me if I made offended anyone who took my comments of my description of day laborors personally. Reading it again, I made it sound like ONLY these "type" people would be involved with this type of labor. Honest work is work; someone has to do it. If it were up to me to write immigration policy, I would term it this way.

If you are coming to this country to do honest work and receive just pay for it, than come in and welcome. Those of you who are here to screw the system for anything and everything you can get, go to hell and get out of here; we have enough to deal with as it is.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), February 20, 2002.

The really sad thing J.R. is that this housing is still better than what many of the Mexicans had at home. Running water for several families is still better than gutter water for an entire community.

If we rich Americans really knew what the living conditions are like for our southern neighbors, we wouldn't squack like we do. Mexican migrant workers are not taking any jobs from white boys in my neighborhood. I cannot get a high school kid to do chores around my place for $10 an hour, but the Mexicans line up for the opportunity and work hard for that money to feed their families back home.

-- Laura (Ladybugwrangler@hotmail.com), February 20, 2002.

I agree Laura, the poverty in Mexico, as well as other foreign countrys is appalling.

My wife and I took a vacation down to the interior and it is quite an experience. These people go thru incredible privation in their home country, as you said; why else would they go thru so much to get here. They think nothing of making a journey of two or three thousand miles BY FOOT to get here. In Texas, many die in the brush, for lack of water. In some small towns, over half of the men are living on this side, sending money back to their families in Mexico. There is no welfare system in Mexico, education must be payed by everybody, and government is pretty strict on what you can do and what you say. Half of the population is 30 or younger; think about that. We were surprised at the numbers of so many young people. We asked one of our guides at why this was so. He told us one of the reasons was that the life expectancy, especially in cities, was not long.

A short story. My wife and I were just about to cross the U.S. / Mexico border at 3:30 a.m. when we were approached by two kids, ages 6 plus or minus, and a younger brother. They begged for some food, which we obliged. My wife then asked the older one "Why are you out at this time of night? Where are your parents?" The older child said that they had no parents, and begged just to survive.

I kept picturing my own child having to live hand to mouth like that. Believe me, Mexico has problems that will not be solved in an administration, it will take a generation to solve, if then.

It isn't for anything that the lines to emigrate here are MUCH longer than U.S. citizens emigrating to other countries. We are so fortunate to be blessed being born U.S. citizens.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), February 21, 2002.

My brother in So. CA. hired some Mexican guys to paint his rental house. He said as he went to buy paint there were a number of them standing outside the building just waiting for a chance to be hired. Same way at lumber yards etc. He took them to his house, stopped on the way there for donuts and coffee for them, they painted until noon when he brought them hamburgers, fries & pop and worked until they were finished and he took them back to the paint store. He said they were the best workers he's ever had and would hire them back in a heart beat. They do not question "why", they just do what they're told. He said some people think it's hilarious to get these guys to do the work and then just drop them off without pay.....with no papers they have no recourse so keep their mouths shut since, of course, they don't want attention drawn to themselves.

-- Anna in Iowa (countryanna54@hotmail.com), February 22, 2002.

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