WHYS in Immokalee, Florida

As mentioned by Ros a wee while back on our trips page, we’re working with our partner station out in south-west Florida, WGCU.

This time next week, Ros, Alicia and I will be on our way to Immokalee.  It’s a small town not far from Fort Myers (where WHYS broadcast from the soup kitchen last year, see picture below).

The name “Immokalee” is a native American word, meaning “my home”.

The name is apt as it is the new home to many migrants who travel over from Mexico, Central America, Haiti and Caribbean nations.

These workers will be the stars of our show in the coming week.

These workers come to pick the area’s citrus, tomatoes, and other crops, which makes Immokalee a major food supplier for the United States.

In the last few years the town’s been home to controversy over farm worker issues.

Our show will look at the issues surrounding the agricultural business there, but our focus will be primarily on immigration and undocumented workers.

We’re busy putting last minute preparations together so will keep you posted as these are finalised.

**Some of these pictures have been taken from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers website. We’ll be visiting them when in Florida.

22 Responses to “WHYS in Immokalee, Florida”

  1. January 1, 2010 at 16:14

    Economic immigrants have contributed immensely to the economic prosperity of countless countries they have chosen to settle in. So they deserve to be treated with the fullest dignity and be given equal rights as the natives with absolutely no discrimination whatsoever. Easily said but in reality they have been treated shabbily in so many documented cases the world over. Let us hope this is not the case of the Immokalee workers in Florida. There are so many burning questions to ask and fascinating answers I am sure!

  2. 2 Tom K in Mpls
    January 1, 2010 at 17:41

    Illegal immigrant labor has continually driven down the wages of the local people. It creates a false economic boom, undermines the middle class, and increases the number of poor.

    If people had to pay the fair price for the produce that contributes to local business, they would be economically stronger. But most people want the quick fix they get from a low price and money going abroad.

    Who do you care about, you and your neighbors or an illegal immigrant?

    • 3 patti in cape coral
      January 4, 2010 at 16:08

      What if your neighbor is an illegal immigrant? Are they still worthy of care for being your neighbor?

      • 4 Tom K in Mpls
        January 4, 2010 at 18:25

        With my ‘fine the employers’ plan, this would be a moot point. If it is a question of them getting work or me, that is obvious. No hostility here, just cold practicality. Anger won’t improve any situation.

  3. 5 t
    January 1, 2010 at 18:36

    Illegal immigrants will always be a convenient political football. But set aside all of the “analysis”, and look at it this way.

    Thru no fault of your own, you live on $1 a day in a shack and feel like you have no hope. Suddenly someone offers you a chance at a better life (at a high risk). Do you stay stuck and say, there’s nothing I can do? Or, do you go elsewhere?

    There’s the law, and there’s reality. If every politician who says deport them were in their position, they’d do exactly the same thing.

    • 6 Tom K in Mpls
      January 1, 2010 at 19:25

      Don’t deport them. Don’t chase them. Leave them alone. The answer is genuinely simple and easy. It will also *make* money! Simply fine anyone ( corporate or private ) $10,000 per illegal alien hired, per event. This will make it cheaper to hire legal labor at a fair wage. This will stop people from hiring illegal immigrants. If there are no jobs for them, they will not come.

      It is more important today than ever with 10% unemployment.

      • 7 stephen/portland
        January 1, 2010 at 20:51

        Your ideas are very good Tom and you always have good points.

        Have you had any experience at employing people at the lower skill levels in this country? If they turn up not high from “whatever” and don’t rip you off you are just plain lucky.

        The Man-child pot smoking, skateboarding, twenty something in Portland are a disgrace! I had a guy who was covered in tattoos and had freaking big holes in his ears who came looking for work just two days ago; I would not put this freak in a circus.

        The Spanish workers will work five times harder and are more reliable. I cannot imagine not having the two guys.They are the backbone of my Business. And I swear to you both pay taxes based on not a social security number but a “tax identification number” That I set up for them.

        I will close my doors rather than having to deal with the X box 360 generation!

        Not saying there all like that but this has been my experience for five years now.

      • 8 Tom K in Mpls
        January 4, 2010 at 18:38

        Some businesses are not priced reasonably, or a better way to put it, are not sustainable, without immigrant labor. That means they are not truly justified. Take the example of farming. If US fruit was not harvested by illegals, the price of US fruit would rise something like 5x. Before this would happen, people would import it. This would create jobs and income in the places everyone wants us to send aid to. It would also force people to change their diets somewhat, eating foods that are easier to harvest by machine. Creating more jobs there.

        There is no perfect answer. All we can do is to work to make things more stable for everyone, to reduce the degree of pain change will always bring. And change always occurs. BTW, it is extremely rare to find unskilled labor under the age of 25 that is worth a damn. If you find one, hire him, pay well, and train for promotion!

      • 9 patti in cape coral
        January 4, 2010 at 18:53

        @Tom in Mpls – No anger here either, you usually have good points, although I don’t agree with all of them. I just wondered if there are any gray areas in determining who should be cared about. the most. I guess the more intimately related you are to an issue, the harder it is to subscribe to cold practicality. At my job, the most stringent adversaries of immigration, both legal and illegal, were the same people who helped me with the paperwork and notarizations to bring my husband home, cried with me when there were more delays, and constantly ask me how he is and when he will come home. All because they happen to know me and my husband and thappen to like us.

      • 10 Tom K in Mpls
        January 4, 2010 at 19:55

        I understand. Most people, me included, like to do good things. But to always be nice is impossible, and writing it into laws is even harder. There is never a perfect solution. We need simple answers with the best results.

  4. 11 Roberto
    January 1, 2010 at 18:38

    RE “” Economic immigrants have contributed immensely to the economic prosperity of countless countries “”

    ———— Illegal “economic” migrant laborers were imported enmasse to rapidly build up the US real estate market with new homes that were needed for the financial derivatives global fraud.

    Illegal smugglers of humans and drugs have alo seized control of parts of Mexico, US, South and Central America. Local economies in these areas also benefit immensely from “economic” human and drug smugglers even as states are starting to collapse.

    Few begrudge legal immigrants, but immense legal and moral problems are caused by the use of illegal immigrants.

  5. 12 t
    January 1, 2010 at 18:41

    Politicians also know this:

    There are roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the States. Not all of them come from Mexico. Many come from various parts of Europe.

    These people do many jobs that many Americans would never do (even in this lousy economy). They also pay taxes. Without these people, the economy would collapse.

    If you don’t want them, improve the conditions in their home country. And then they’ll stay there.

    • 13 Tom K in Mpls
      January 1, 2010 at 19:04

      There is always someone to do any job, if the pay is good. There are jobs that I, myself, would not or could not do. But there are jobs I would do that many would not. Don’t assume that just because you have certain limit that others have the same ones.

  6. 14 GTR5
    January 2, 2010 at 14:50

    All illegals need to be picked up and deported. All of them. They are a big drain of our welfare system, pay no income tax or social security and want to sponge off the US taxpayers. They are a big illegal headache and account for a large part of crime in America.

    • 15 hebaayoub
      January 4, 2010 at 13:16

      Looking over the comments on this page, it appears the bulk of you think immigrants, whether undocumented or otherwise, are the unsung heroes of society. Surely there are more of you who agree with GT5?

      • 16 Tom K in Mpls
        January 4, 2010 at 22:42

        I am against the expense of deportation. If there is no work or government handouts, they will not come. Also, the majority of them do pay taxes. Read my other posts for details. Many others here generally agree with GT5. Try reading more.

  7. 17 Eusuph
    January 4, 2010 at 05:14

    The immigrants have contributed positively to the development and welfare of the country as aresult of that, the labourers deserve a better and satisfying wage in respect to the harmony of humanity.
    They should not be used as a tool to make work easy. Modern slavatory should be stop.
    Thanks, Eusuph in Somalia.

  8. 18 Roy, Washington DC
    January 4, 2010 at 05:50

    Any plans for another DC trip some time?

    • 19 Tom K in Mpls
      January 4, 2010 at 22:46

      The local NPR/MPR station here would love to help you with their incredible facility. Come to the Minneapolis/St Paul area!

  9. 20 patti in cape coral
    January 4, 2010 at 14:00

    Welcome to my neck of the woods, WHYS! My husband was an illegal immigrant. He worked very hard and paid taxes the whole time he was here illegally. He was speaking English within two months of arriving here, although not everyone can do that. He said that American workers were much nicer and willing to help him than latino workers. He thought it was because American workers didn’t have as much to lose, and latino workers are wary about losing their jobs. I am anticipating his return in 2010 after wading through a four-year separation and tons of red tape. I’m not that worried about him finding a job, he is willing to do anything and work hard at it. I do worry about discrimination; a lot of people assume someone with darker skin and a thick accent is illegal.

    I think companies should be required to pay fair wages, and the jobs should go to the best and most reliable workers, who are often illegal. That will probably change now that there is so much competition for jobs. “Legals” will be willing to do more for a buck now.

  10. 21 Kate M.
    January 5, 2010 at 16:35

    This is an issue I am torn on. I am looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say next week.

    Have a safe trip!

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