Undocumented workers: Scapegoats...
 Child labor laws violated
 New literature available from...

Title: CALA newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087322/00001
 Material Information
Title: CALA newsletter
Alternate Title: Community Action on Latin America newsletter
C.A.L.A. newsletter
Physical Description: 9 v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Community Action on Latin America
Publisher: Community Action on Latin America
Place of Publication: Madison, Wis.
Publication Date: 1975
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subject: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Periodicals -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Periodicals -- Latin America -- United States   ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Periodicals -- United States -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 1971)-v. 9, no. 1 (Apr. 1981).
Numbering Peculiarities: Nov. 1971-Oct. 1972 unnumbered but constitute vol. 1, no. 1-v. 2, no. 1.
Numbering Peculiarities: Vol. 9, no. 1 misdated 1980.
General Note: Title from caption.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087322
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 02973722
lccn - sn 94023318

Table of Contents
    Undocumented workers: Scapegoats of an economic crisis
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Child labor laws violated
        Page 6
        Page 7
    New literature available from CALA
        Page 8
Full Text

Scapegoats of an Economic Crisis

Unemployment. Swollen welfare rolls.
Increasing social security costs. An
unfavorable balance of payments. All those
problems the government can't solve.
So the government looks for a scape-
goat and finds one in the so-called "ille-
gal aliens." It's a perfect tactic of
divide, distract and diffuse working class
unrest. Based on the already present
racism in the United States, it chooses a
group that cannot openly defend itself for
fear of being deported.
Predictably, the current campaign a-
gainst undocumented workers (known in the
U.S. press as illegal aliens) started as
unemployment rose and the economy crum-
bled. ABC Television, U.S. News and World
Report, The Washington Post, The New York
Times -- all have carried major stories in
the last six months clamoring about the
"silent invasion that takes jobs." The
Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) has increased the scope and number
of its raids of factories, fields and pri-
vate homes, looking for undocumented wor-
kers. On May 16, the INS arrested an es-

timated 500 undocumented workers in Los
Angeles in the largest surprise raid ever
undertaken in one factory. Four hundred
workers were immediately deported to
Mexico. Crowning the current campaign,
and hoping to give it Congressional re-
spectability, is the Rodino bill. If
passed, the bill would signal an all-out
attack on Latins (most undocumented wor-
kers are from Latin America and the Car-
ribean) and all employers would become
policemen trying to catch undocumented


"Millions of people are pouring across
our nation's borders illegally each year,
and thousands more are coming as visitors
or students and remaining here to become
illegal....The problem is costing us bil-
lions of dollars a year -- in wages that
are earned here and sent out of the coun-
try, detracting from our balance of pay-
ments; in the taxes that are unpaid by il-
legal aliens; on costs of services and

welfare, including food stamps which are
used by the illegals, and in the cost of
our own unemployed who are displaced in
the labor market by illegal aliens."
This quote by Leonard F. ChapmanJr.,
Commissioner of the INS, is a perfect ex-
ample of the distortions, generalizations
and unsubstantiated "facts" that are the
backbone of the current campaign against
undocumented workers. While the INS is
long on rhetoric and scapegoating, it is
short on accurate statistics backing up
many of its claims.
JOBS. "The Immigration Service could
make available in a few months a million
jobs in this country for unemployed Amer-
icans. And, given adequate resources and
some legislation...there could be an addi-
tional 2 or 3 million more jobs opened up
over the next three or four years," said
Chapman in a Dec. 9, 1974 article in U.S.
News and World Report. But Chapman's one
million new jobs pending one million de-
portations is pure conjecture and twists
the focus of unemployment away from the
government and big business to a group of
workers trying to make a decent living
just like everyone else.
"No one knows how many aliens are wor-
king here illegally," wrote the New York
Times Dec. 29m 1974. Asked how many un-
documented workers had jobs in New York,
the then District Director of Immigration,
Sol Marks, testified in 1972, "I have ab-
solutely no idea." The INS claims New
York City has one of the largest concen-
trations of "illegal aliens" -- approxi-
mately 1.5 million.
The INS and newspapers which uncriti-
cally regurgitate their arguments are also
quick to point out aliens caught holding
high-paying jobs Time magazine said in
a May 19 article that "An increasing num-
ber of illegals have landed desirable
jobs...Some Mexicans who have entered il-
legally earn close to $5 an hour in small
factories; one was even found managing a
Laredo plastics plant at $20,000 a year."
What Time magazine fails to report is
that a 1973 amendment to the social se-
curity law precludes nonresidents who are
not authorized to work from getting social
security cards, thus restricting them to
agricultural and domestic employment not
covered by social security.
Former Immigration Commissioner Farrel
stated in 1971, before the social security
restriction was imposed, that "97 per cent
of illegal entrants are Mexican," the vast
majority of whom engage in agricultural

labor. Even Chapman admitted that undocu-
mented workers take jobs at lousy wages
that many Americans don't want. "They do
occupy a number of jobs that it's difficult,
if not impossible to fill. That's partly
due, of course, to our welfare system," he
said in a July 22, 1974 interview with U.S.
News and World Report.
many illegals do not file income tax re-
turns and also manage to have only a mini-
scule portion of their paychecks withheld
by claiming more dependents than they ac-
tually have. At the same time, they bene-
fit as much as many of their neighbors do
from tax supported social services, inclu-
ding schools and hospitals." (Time, May
19, 1975.)
Time offered no statistics or evidence
to back up its claims. An Internal Revenue
Service official earlier conceded that in
the New York area, "We haven't got a solid
idea of the compliance gap among illegal
The fact is that employers deduct with-
holding and social security taxes from the
undocumented workers' pay, but the workers
do not file tax returns and thus never get
refunds. They do not receive social secur-
ity or unemployment insurance either, be-
cause officials ask for proof of the un-
documented workers' right to work.
As a recent fact sheet by the American
Committee for Protection of Foreign Born
(ACPFB) concluded, "Thus, far from deple-
ting social security and unemployment in-
surance fund, noncitizens build up these
funds without getting benefits."
The claim that undocumented workers
benefit from social services such as schools
and hospitals is also unsubstantiated. And
it ignores the fact that undocumented wor-
kers shy away from anything official for
fear they'll be turned in. "They shun au-
thority like the plague," siad Ira Gollobin
WELFARE. The charges that undocumen-
ted workers swell the welfare rolls are not
even supported by welfare officials. New
York City Commissioner Dumpson said that
there are less than 200 cases there. The
State Deputy Commissioner for Social Ser-
vices testified in March 1972 that the New
York Daily News reports of thousands of n-
documented workers on welfare are "not
facts.. but wild guesstimates."
Also, most undocumented workers rarely
receive welfare because most of them hope
eventually to become permanent residents,
and according to immigration laws, they au-


tomatically become ineligible for that
status if they have ever received money
from the U.S. government.
part of the billions of dollars earned by
illegal aliens is sent out of this coun-
try to families back home in Mexico, El
Salvador, Hong Kong or almost any country
you can name. The impact on our balance
of payments that results from this out-
flow of dollars is great. If it could be
ended, a major part of the payments defi-
cit, which at last report was 3.6 billion
dollars, could be wiped out," wrote INS
Commissioner Chapman in the U.S. News and
World Report Dec 9, 1974.
Somehow it seems absurd to blame the
U.S. balance of payments on an unknown
number of foreign workers who largely
earn minimum wage, and yet that is ex-
actly what Chapman is doing.
"No one knows how much money is 'ex-
ported' in this fashion," admitted the New
York Times, Dec 30, 1974. Further, immi-
gration officials concede that "most em-
ployed illegals are unskilled and semi-
skilled laborers" that have such difficul-
ty in making ends meet that they have very
little left to send to their families.


A major part of the current campaign
I- ~ N w- -.ddmbffl~'u`~ C

against undocumented workers is the
Rodino Bill (H.R.982). Passed by the
House in both 1972 and 1973 but stalled
in the Senate, the bill is presented as a
piece of friend-of-labor legislation to
ease unemployment but is in reality a sig-
nal for an attack on all Latins. Rodino
himself has called for a $50 million in-
crease in the Immigration Service appro-
priation to cover the mass raids and de-
portations envisaged in the bill.
Javier Rodriques, President of CASA,
a national organization concerned with the
rights of Chicanos, compared the situation
to that of the Nazis who blamed Germany's
economic troubles on the Jews. "Only
rather than yellow stars," he said, "Latin
Americans will be set apart by the color
of their skin."
The Rodino Bill calls for a three-step
program: 1,) Warning citations for first-
time offenders; 2.) Civil penalties of up
to $500 for second offenders; 3.) Criminal
sanctions-for each subsequent violation.
Although the bill attempts to make
people believe that it is aimed primarily
at the employer, its target is actually the
worker. John Kuenhold, a supervising
attorney for Colorado Rural Legal Services,
declared last year that such a bill "allows
the employers a big loophole. All they
have to do to avoid prosecution," he said,
"is have all employees sign affidavits say-

)men workers in a San Jose cannery.

ing they are U.S. citizens or authorized
Rep. Joshua Eilberg, (D-Pa) who is
presently House Immigration Committee
Chairman, said in 1972 that under the
Nixon Bill (which evolved into the Rodino
Bill) trade unions, in fact everyone,
would share responsibility to ferret out
undocumented workers. "...the doctor,
the lawyer, the milkman, the psychiatrist,
every person with whom someone in this
country comes in contact, would have the
same obligation..." said Eilberg.
Rep. Edward Roybal (D-Ca) declared
that the bill is the most discriminatory
bill against Mexican-Americans and Asians
which has been brought to the floor of
this house."
The bill would inevitably lead to
discrimination against all Latins, citizen
and non-citizen alike. It will require
brownskinned people to supply proof of
citizenship that Anglos will not have to
supply. Many employers, to avoid the
paper work, will simply reject out of
hand the applications of those with
Spanish surnames.
A bill similar to the Rodino Bill
was passed by the California legislature
and declared unconstitutional before it
went into effect. It was declared un-
constitutional for two reasons: the field
of immigration and naturalization is pre-
empted by the Federal Government, and the
act, with its criminal penalties, was
"too vague, indefinite, and uncertain."
Although the law never went into
effect, its detrimental consequences were
clearly felt by all working Latins. Em-
ployers began massive firings of anyone
suspect of not having proper documenta-
tion months before the law was to go into
effect. Immigrants who had married and
had legal residence, who had children
born in the United States, were laid off
because they could not produce visas.
In a meeting with the California
bill's sponsor, workers complained that
their employer, a large soup company, had
demanded that all employees without doc-
uments put up a $400 cash bond in case of
a fine. Other workers complained that
their bosses fired them, rather than new-
er workers, since they enjoyed seniority,
paid vacations, and other benefits.
The Rodino Bill, however, is not
only an attack on Latins, but an attack
on all workers fighting for a decent wage.
As Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) said,

"This bill attempts to shift the burden of
undesirable and substandard jobs from the
alien poor to the indigenous poor.
"In reality this bill makes illegal
aliens the scapegoats for a problem which
is not their doing. The real problem which
we should be attacking is an employment
situation where the jobs on the lowest end
of the scale are so demeaning and financi-
ally unrewarding that not enough Americans
are willing to take them."


It is true that the number of undoc-
umented workers in this country is increa-
sing rapidly. But what the INS and the
media neglect to mention is the reason
behind this increase.
Last year, over 700,000 Mexicans were
deported. A decade earlier, 42,000 Mex-
icans were deported. Why the big jump?
Most importantly, the bracero program
was abolished in 1964. Also, in 1965, a
quota of 120,000 was imposed on immigration
from the Western hemisphere.
When World War II began, American
farmers and agribusiness felt the crunch of
labor shortages, and the United States and
Mexico signed the Bracero agreement. (In
Spanish, bracero means laborer.) In
September 1942, the first 1,500 braceros
arrived in Stockton, California.

*S~ A~

The program was supposed to end on
December 31,1947, but employers in Cali-
fornia, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico
pressured for it to continue, and it did
until 1964.
From 1789 to 1965 no quota whatsoever
had existed for immigrants from the West-
ern Hemisphere. Since 1965, when the quota
was established, countless workers became
"illegal". These are just words and tac-
tics allowing the capitalists to use cheap

photo:The Militant
"No more deportations",

labor when they need it and conveniently
get rid of it when it is unnecessary.
Since 1965, legal residence was rest-
ored to those having close family ties or
to those who have a skill, an employer,
and a certificate by the U.S. Labor Depart-
ment that there is no one else here to fill
the job.
As Ira Gollobin of the American Com-
mittee for Protection of Foreign Born said,
"Most persons waiting abroad to find an
employer would very likely wait forever
because 1.) while in their native countries
they are not in a position to find employ-

ers; 2.) employers rarely hire workers
sight unseen; and 3.) even after U.S.
Labor Department certification, there is
currently over a two-year wait for visa
approval. Thus, for those who want to
find employers, the vast majority must
first come here as visitors."
"In sum, the 1965 law not enly barred
Mexicans seeking temporary employment,
but required those seeking permanent res-
idence based on skill to first come here
as residents. It arbitrarily and arti-
ficially converted our hard-working and
law-abiding neighbors who merely seek a
livelihood here into "illegals",
Another factor behind increasing
numbers of undocumented workers is the
dismal employment situation in many Latin
countries, a situation directly related
to U.S. imperialism.
While U.S. businesses are eager to
open this country's doors to the raw
materials of Latin American countries, it
slams those doors when workers come seek-
ing jobs denied them in their own countr-
According to the U.S. News and World
Report, Feb. 10, 1975, Of 19 raw materi-
als...important to national security or
U.S. industry, 12 come in significant
amounts from Latin America or from the
nations of the Caribbean...American con-
sumers get a major share of their coffee,
sugar, bananas, cocoa and tomatoes from
countries south of the U.S. border."
As the American Committee for Protect-
ion of Foreign Born commented, "In short,
by making most of these countries' key
resources available for our benefit rather
than for theirs, far more Latin Americans
are deprived of jobs in their own countries
than the comparatively small number who
are able to come here and secure employ-
ment ."


If the current campaign succeeds,
workers will be fighting each other instead
of the capitalists. Unemployment will
still be high and wages will still be low,
but the "solution" will be deportations,
To prevent this, people must see
through the liberal-facade of the Rodino
bill, oppose the current immigration
policies, and fight for the unionization
and defense of all workers.
The ACPFB has called for a three-
pronged attack: 1.) Opposition to the

Rodino Bill (H.R.982) which opponents
believe may have a good chance of passing
next session; 2.) A democratic non-
discriminatory immigration policy for
Latin America, including an increase in
the Western Hemisphere quota and repeal
of labor certification; 3.) Amnesty and
the right to residence--which Canada
and Argentina have granted--for economic
refugees, many of whom have family ties
Although unions have been divided
on the question of undocumented workers,
some, such as the UAW and the Joint
Board of Fur, Leather and Machine Work-
ers Union,AFL-CIO, have taken a strong
stand against the scapegoating.
The UAW passed a resolution at their
International Convention in April 1972
against the Nixon immigration bill say-
ing, "Reactionaries have a long tradi-
tion of trying to make the foreign-born
scapegoats for the failure of the
government to solve the problems of the
people. But these problems will not be
solved by the simplistic expedient of
pitting native-born workers against
foreign-born...This proposed bill is mere-
ly another chapter in Nixon's program of
economic depression and political re-
pression. We urge the defeat of any
measure that would further intensify the
second-class status of the foreign-born
Today's campaign may become an
open attack tomorrow. And tomorrow's
attack against foreign workers may lead
the way to an open political repression
of all workers. But this can only happen
if we are divided against each other.

-- Barbara Miner--


Abolition of child labor has general-
ly been regarded as a significant advance
over the excesses of early industrial
development in the United States. Yet
current pressures from agricultural grow-
ers in the Northwest and Maine have prompt-
ed Congress to consider ending the ban on
exploitation of small children as farm

The history of child labor in agri-
culture reveals a long struggle to enforce
moral considerations over profit motives
of large farmers. While prohibition of
child labor in industrial "sweat shops"
was achieved prior to 1940, a study by the
American Friends Service Committee in 1970
discovered that one quarter of the agri-
cultural labor force was under the age of
16. In California, a state which has ex-
plicitly banned child employment in agri-
culture, children under 12 years of age
still comprise one-third of the farm
labor force.

By 1974, public pressure to end child
exploitation forced Congress to amend the
Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit agri-
cultural labor by children under 12 years
of age. Recent opposition by growers, how-
ever, threatens to erode this victory.
Amendments are being considered to permit
children from ages 5 to 12 to work as farm
laborers in designated areas.

Though often hidden behind myths about
the virtues of labor as teaching "self-
reliance" and "the value of a dollar," the
interests of large farmers are clear.
Children provide a cheap and compliant
labor force. Outside the protection of the
National Labor Relations Act, children are
unable to exert bargaining power with grow-
ers and are not covered by unemployment
insurance, social security, or minimum wage
laws. Moreover, the availability of child
labor acts to depress wage rates and increase
unemployment among adults and undercuts the
possibility of effective union bargaining
for adult agricultural workers.

The enormous pressure exerted by large
growers is indicated by current testimony
presented to the Senate Committee on Labor
and Public Welfare. Growers continuously
emphasize their inability and/or unwill-
ingness to hire adults at minimum wage
rates and protested what they termed
"stringent" controls placed upon pesti-
cides and sanitary facilities by the Bur-
eau of Labor, In fact, conditions in the
fields are much different. The Occupation-
al Safety and Health Act does not require
inspection of fields prior to opening and
limits enforcement to investigation of
official complaints--a process unlikely
to be invoked by young children. Further,
standards on pesticides allowed under the



CHILD LABOR EMPLOYER: "You see, it keeps them out of mischief."

Environmental Protection Agency are based
upon levels of adult tolerance and do not
account for the possibility of children
eating contaminated crops in the field.
Even with current laws against operation
of dangerous machinery by young children,
abuses are common. A California judge
fined an employer only $33 for allowing
an 8 year-old to drive a tractor, arguing
that "90% of our deliquency is caused by
the fact that the state has legislated
children out of jobs." According to a
13 state survey of tractor fatalities,
12% of those killed were between the ages
of 5 and 14--children specifically prohi-
bited from such work.

As a result of public outcry and
petition campaigns, such as the one con-
tained in the last issue of the CALA
Newsletter (vol.4, no.4), it is unlikely
that the ban on child labor in agriculture
will be lifted in this Congressional
session. The influence of large growers,
however, indicates that further pressure
upon Congress as well as flagrant viola-
tions of the current law will continue.
A final ban on exploitation of children
in fields and labor camps will only be
achieved with mounting public demands that
existing laws be maintained and vigourous-
ly enforced.

--Kathleen Blee--

Latin American Project (LAP)

LAP is an ongoing inter-cultural col-
lective of North and Latin Americans
working together since 1972. We offer
an accredited M.A. degree for 12
months of academic/activist work com-
bining research/action and theory/
practice. Our activities include:
power structure research, translations,
slide shows, read the Marxist classics,
critique of North Atlantic social
sciences, organize cultural events,
attempts at conscientizacion, criti-
cism-rself-criticism. So far we have
related to 3 main struggles:Chile,
Cuba, and Puerto Rico. LAP in 1975-
76 will reflect both international
events & the interests of each coll-
ective member,

Applications for 1975-76 accepted
through August. Info & Catalogue:
Shepherd Bliss,LAP
Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program
in Social Change
5 Upland Rd.,Cambridge,MA 02140


New Literature Available
from CALA

Secret ITT Memos--Subversion in Chile:
A Case Study of U.S. Corporate
Intrigue in the Third World.
Nottingham, England, Partisan Press,
1972. 114 p. $3.00.

The Transnational Corporations and the
Third World: A CODOC Bibliography.
Washington,D.C., CODOC, 1975. 237 p.

"Housing: A Challenge Met", Cuba Review,
vol.V, no.l, March 1975. 26 p.

Order from CALA. Add 15% for postage
and enclose payment with order.

Madison Campus Ministry
731 State Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53703


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Write to CALA
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CALA is an independent research/action
collective of students, clergy, and Latins
working together to promote the cause of
liberation in Latin America and of'Hispanic
peoples in the U.S. For more information
on CALA, write' or phone CALA: (608) 251-3241.
Subscriptions to the Newsletter are $2 a year.

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Permit No. 1514
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BRONX, NY 1045b

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