May 21, 2006


An air of uncertainty in town where Latino roots run deep (Hal Bernton, 5/21/06, Seattle Times)

Liliana came to the United States illegally three years ago, hiking five days across the desert while pregnant. She works in the Wapato area, cutting asparagus spears this week before moving on to cherries, pears and apples in a season that stretches into November.

During the slow winter months, Liliana would like to head south to rejoin family and friends in her home state of Michoacán. But the costs and perils of a return trip across a tightening border have dissuaded her.

So instead, Liliana, who declined to give her last name for fear of deportation, has become a year-round resident of the Yakima Valley. She shares a small house outside of town with her husband, Ramiro, her young daughter, Leslie, and another family of four.

Liliana's transformation from migrant worker to resident is part of a broader shift in the Central Washington farmworker community.

Increasing numbers are settling here in the Yakima Valley — rather than working the seasonal crops and moving on. Latinos now make up about 40 percent of the population in Yakima County — more than double the percentage two decades ago.

Permanence is preferable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 21, 2006 12:19 PM

As she and others like her become permanent residents and learn about our super generous welfare system, will they continue to pick crops or will they become people who won't do that kind work too?

Posted by: erp at May 21, 2006 3:10 PM

They don't get welfare unless they get to be citizens. It's the natives who are slackers.

Posted by: oj at May 21, 2006 3:29 PM

Yep, what this country needs is a peasant class, willing to work cheap and know their place, as God intended.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 21, 2006 4:46 PM

And here's the reason that the Time Zone Rule will be violated this summer, unless these groups form a Little Canada chapter to help French Canucks headed south.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 21, 2006 5:11 PM


I'm not an immigration lawyer, but I believe you can receive welfare benefits with a green card, which current legislative proposals would grant 'temporary' workers.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at May 21, 2006 6:58 PM

Ok, Mr. Ortega, where are you going to get one? The people coming now get rich in about ten years and send their kids to college. They suck at being peasants, no understanding of their social status, not like natives.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 21, 2006 7:02 PM

Rbt. If they wanted to be peasants, they could have stayed home. Is this a great country or what!

Posted by: erp at May 21, 2006 7:36 PM

The comments above are confusing. If only citizens may receive welfare benefits, why the argument that illegals are a drain on the public treasure? All twenty million can't have fake ID's.

Posted by: erp at May 22, 2006 10:39 AM

It's not about facts, just race and religion.

Posted by: oj at May 22, 2006 10:51 AM

Unfortunately, illegals can receive welfare benefits, especially if a court says they can. California tried to pass a Proposition to make it illegal for illegal immigrants to receive benefits paid for by citizens only to have a judge throw out the vote as 'unconstitutional'.

Posted by: Jay at May 22, 2006 10:57 AM

Illegal aliens are receiving all public assistance that legal immigrants or natives are receiving including EITC (earned income tax credit).

When OJ, says it's not about facts, believe him.

Posted by: h-man at May 22, 2006 12:44 PM

Thanks to all for clearing up that illegals may claim entitlements.

Posted by: erp at May 22, 2006 6:01 PM