Immigration. What’s the Problem and How Do We Fix It?


Sustainable food production at our border may be the answer.

The Mexican “Braceros” worked in agriculture in the US through the Bracero Program during the early phases of World War II and it ended about 20 years later. The Catholic Church in Mexico didn’t like that families were being separated, but the program ended largely due to labor disputes and strikes. This single program paved important politics between the US and Mexico (with Mexico being the underdog) during and after the program unfolded.

The program had problems, but a modern day resurrection seems like a good solution to the displaced Mexican farm workers (for instance) caught-up in matters like NAFTA changes and social problems in Mexico. But, legal immigration, through programs like these, would solve so many problems at our border, and could work again, since we know one program had a life span of over twenty years.

With the idea of growing desert crops – like watermelons, apples, green onions, cucumbers, corn, hot peppers, melons, bell peppers, radishes, carrots, cabbage, soybeans, pears, tomatoes, squash and spinach – using modern-day sustainable food production techniques, I’m wondering if a program like the Bracero could be resurrected AT our vast border? Putting migrants to work at the border, for a fair wage, could solve a lot of problems. Schools and decent abodes could forge new communities, just inside the US border. That food could then be sold back to Mexico or the US, or better yet make a dent in feeding world hunger, in exchange for the wages, housing and education benefits paid to the migrant workers. If there’s a deficit from food sold that doesn’t stack-up to labor and education costs, it seems those could be offset from what we’d save in detaining and incarcerating illegal immigrants. Rather, we put these people, fairly, to work at our border. Unskilled and illegal immigrants could be taught how to farm there too, for that same fair wage, so they are better equipped to take care of their families when they go back to Mexico, if their entrance into the country is only short term. But, when they leave, they take new skills and newly acquired education with them back to their own countries to better IT, not OURS.

If people coming in, truly want to work for an honest pay, that’s a good way to find out quickly. Perhaps the best workers, committed to the program, could earn their ticket fully into the US, with their families, after a period of time through a farm-release program. Given the sheer number of people approaching our borders, that’s a lot of new food production.

These are just some of my thoughts from a social entrepreneurial lens. I know it would be a massive undertaking. Our federal prison is currently comprised, by 14%, of Mexican citizens. Extraditing them back to Mexico, could raise over $800,000,000 per year to fund the program.

Perhaps it’s time for a border within our border, letting good people in and weeding bad people out.

These are just my musings, and one crazy idea on a potential solution to a big problem. I, for one, would like to hear less political banter from both sides, and more mindshare on our problems with potential solutions. The conversation is so much more productive that way.

So what’s the problem and how do we fix it?

(Photographs are my own. I took them while traveling and working extensively throughout Nicaragua through The Finding Corte Magore Project.)

A Christmas Story


Yesterday, I had to jet to the bakery to grab some bread for Christmas dinner. I had just arrived at the counter where a woman was inquiring about her custom order. The bakers were scurrying around looking for her bread, but to no avail. “We’re so sorry, Ma’am, it looks like your order is not here,” one of the bakers said. “What? Are you kidding me?” the lady screamed. “YOU have RUINED Christmas! You have RUINED my whole family’s Christmas! I am feeding 20 people! What will I do?” Her tirade went on and on for minutes, as the bakers searched for some sort of resolve, and as the rest of us stood uncomfortably by.

The lady was unrelenting. Finally, I had to speak up. I had to say something! “Ma’am these people are working here on Christmas Day. It’s Christmas Day! And, even if it were not, no one deserves this kind of treatment. No one can ruin your Christmas, but you. I can tell you are a smart and crafty person, and you can make any bread work for your special dinner tonight. Take what the bakers have to offer and be blessed you have food on your table, unlike some who do not.”

She took the bread they offered, mumbled a lackluster apology to us all and scurried off. I was tough on her, and probably should’ve bitten my tongue, but I remembered this quote while she was going off about not having the right kind of bread at her table:

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.

Mahatma Gandhi

12/25/16

Ode to the Slug


I walked down my dimly lit pathway to the mailbox. A fresh rain glistened across the concrete where I walked, while the crunch of winter’s last leaves beneath my feet permeated the sound of the cool night’s air. I drew in a deep breath and marveled at the smell of fresh rain. And Spring! 

Spring is in the air! 

On the way back to the house, I could see my path of destruction and their tiny, lifeless shadows of despair. Squashed slug carcasses, already dead or slithering close to death, were everywhere! It was then that I realized I hadn’t been stepping on winter’s last leaves at all. 

I stopped and inspected the bottom of my Ugg’s, confirming my suspicions. My soles were adorned with thin shells, mollusk guts and mucus. I had killed the snails. And, the mere presence and proliferation of the California slug can only mean one thing.  Spring has most certainly sprung in SoCal along with the reminder to be careful where I walk.  #odetotheslug #californiaslug #mollusk

A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do When You Lose Your iPhone


Here’s what to do when you lose your iPhone. Follow my step-by-step guide to get it back or at least regain your sanity:

Call it immediately from another number. If it rings to voicemail, the Son of a Beast/Daughter of a Beast (SOBDOB) who stole it won’t answer because he/she knew to shut it off.

Log into iCloud and click, “Locate your phone,” which you discover isn’t plausible (and is actually a stupid step) because you already knew the SOBDOB shut it off when he/she pocketed it like an off- Broadway street boy/girl practicing his/her role from Les Misérables.

Click “Report your phone lost or stolen” and mutter “by a SOBDOB” under your breath loudly so an entire convention center of your industry colleagues can hear you.

Click “Erase your phone” so when the SOBDOB begins to feel high-and-mighty, turns it back on and tries to creep into your password-protected life, it immediately gets wiped clean.

Brush off your alter-ego (your alternative personality that would never be so dumb as to put the phone down in a public place), go to the Apple Store and purchase a bigger and better phone (from a young, handsome man that lessons you on iPhone (and anger) management and up-sells you a better phone by preying on your love of photography while also suggesting one that is water resistant because of your previous phone accident history, e.g., murky pond water CIRCA 2013, pedicure water CIRCA 2014, panga/bottom of the boat water CIRCA 2015, et al.) But, the real reason you upgrade is because you should be rewarded for the extra 11,377 physical steps you took on foot the day before trying to hunt down the SOBDOB.

Finally, and this is the most important step, get down on your hands and knees and pray that the SOBDOB who stole your phone gets all the karma he/she deserves.

Tiny Feet


I woke-up early to a the sound of sweet, beautiful, pelting rain; an  utterance that’s become more familiar this fall and early winter. It’s tune, rhythmic; it echoes and reverberates throughout the house. 

No, that’s not it. That’s too trite. Banal. I’ve trivialized the importance of this rain.

Rather,

Tonight, the rain heralds more like a song, or a victory dance upon my rooftop, denouncing the drought we’ve been in for so very long. I can almost hear the melody being tapped out by the rain’s tiny feet.

“Drought be damned! Drought be damned!”

Ominous


 

©ToniaAllenGould

 
A murder of crows flew over hundreds of them, each as dark as night, wings wildly flapping

CAW-CAW-CAW-ing from the painted and falling dusk sky, high-up overhead

There we stood, feet planted, necks stiff from watching the sheer lot of them pass by on their way to another world

Ominous. 

TA Gould

A New Year Blossoms


Post holiday hustle

Feet up 

Taking it all in

Last day of the year

Fond memories made

Tucked inside 

heart and mind 

Reflecting

On a year of mini triumphs, 

successes and defeats

Comprising who I am

Time to let bygones 

BE GONE

I can’t take them with me 

As a year blossoms

I can breathe it’s fresh air 

Starting anew

Pointing me 

in a new direction 

Sad, still, to say goodbye

Grateful to have lived 

and loved another year

TA GOULD

#poetry #newyear2017 #newyear