This city at the heart of the richest farmland in the world has been poor for so long, no one can remember it otherwise. Last month, when the Brookings Institution issued a report that said a higher proportion of poor people in Fresno lived in areas of concentrated poverty than in any other major city in the country - pre-Katrina New Orleans was number two - no one here was surprised...
...[Fresno mayor Alan] Autry said that although officials have no idea how many illegal immigrants live in Fresno (the city is about 45 percent Latino, mostly Mexican, with a rising number of Hmong refugees), 20 percent of the people in the county jails are illegal immigrants. About one quarter of emergency room visits are from illegal immigrants and the vast majority of the tenants in the worst housing in the worst neighborhoods are immigrants, presumably including illegal immigrants.
"If we don't have a policy that allows an immigrant to come across with their dignity and their respect as well as their work ethic, we're going to pay an awful price," Autry said. "We already are."...
But illegal immigration...cannot be blamed for all of Fresno's woes. As those fleeing the skyrocketing housing prices in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area have converged here in the past three years, land and housing prices have increased by nearly 60 percent... Meanwhile, rents have increased by nearly 15 percent.
i'm still amazed at the fact that i can go to a store full of food on any given day and buy just about anything i want, and there may be someone in the apartment next to mine half starved.
ppl are still jumping over the border (well, the border that jumped them anyway) to get to this country because they want something better for their children. but i'm sure it hurts more when their babies turn against them in favor of the ruthless and sometimes soulless "american way".
what's the win-win solution for these immigrants?
how can they stake out a living for themselves without having to succumb to the vices and pitfalls of american culture?
is a hovel in america really better than a shack at home?
is there some way to improve their quality of life at home so that they don't have to go thru heartache here?
where does the sustainable future for us all lie?
obviously, i can't speak to what would make these people risk life & limb to get here. still, when i hear that ppl in other lands are still telling their children about our gold-paved streets, all i can think--as the descendent of kidnapped and bound "immigrants"--is that slavery due to socioeconomic factors is really not a whole lot different from chattel slavery.
granted, at least they willingly came, but the freedom of poverty is even less than the freedom of being human property.
i don't know. just rambling.