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September 18, 2009


John Moore Migrant Health.jpg

I offer more great work from Getty’s John Moore using the single still image to frame the most politically uncomfortable questions.

But first, some context. In the foreground, we see a migrant farm worker from Mexico picking spinach near Wellington, Colorado. Beyond is a mobile clinic that visits farms in the northeastern part of the state serving immigrants who have little other access to health care. States the caption:

While funding of health care for undocumented workers has become a controversial topic in the health care reform debate, the federal government already funds basic care for many such workers through grants to non-profit clinics, which serve one of America’s most vulnerable, uninsured populations.

Thus the question: If a health bill, in the form of an “ode to the Republicans,” passes the Congress and all pipelines to services for illegal (and even less-than-five year legal) immigrants are cut off, does the next version of this story offer men simply keeling over in “our” spinach?

(image: John Moore, Wellington Colorado. September 16, 2009)

  • DennisQ

    I have the feeling that with all the emphasis on religion these days, someone is going to remember that most religions encourage compassion. Here’s a photograph of a man bent over in what used to be called “stoop labor” doing the important work of havesting our food. There’s no way to describe denying him health care other than a lack of compassion.
    Here’s another angle – American traditions. This country has never really knocked itself out accommodating strangers, but there’s always been an underlying theme of acknowledging hard work. Republicans react to the idea of immigrant health care as if the undocumented work force were layabouts and thieves.
    Eventually there won’t be as much tolerance for so-called “conservative” values as there has been. People are already getting tired of thinly veiled racism by another name. Applause to Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter for saying out loud what needs to be said. People who would deny health care to the workers who grow our food don’t speak for the rest of us. They are the ones who are unAmerican; not the rest of us who believe in the American value of fundamental fairness.

  • Tena

    How did we get the point where people are arguing against humanitarian health care to undocumented workers? Do they want to see the people picking our fruits and vegetables to be sick? To maybe have tuberculosis?
    If someone loses an arm in a thresher, do they really want an ER to turn them away if they can’t prove they are citizens?

  • PhoenixRising

    Good points, from the perspective of common decency.
    However, from self-interest: You don’t need to agree that compassion calls for us to care for our fellow man. You just need to agree that you want to eat food you didn’t grow yourself, while remaining free of salmonella, e coli, TB, and other human illnesses.
    Ask a Republican whether it’s worth losing a child or elderly parent to be right about who pays for this man’s doctor visits. Do you want to be right that badly?

  • lq

    One the one hand, we are pushing more salads in places like McDonalds – on the other hand, well, that’s raw food, not cooked to kill the e coli, salmonella, giardia, etc. It’s a public health issue, folks – pure and simple. I’ve been saying that for 25 years – lots of eyerolling from my friends, but it’s so true.

  • Tena

    I totally agree – which is why I asked, rhetorically if people really want the people picking our fruits and vegetables to maybe have tuberculosis or some other communicable disease. That’s not some wild thought – it’s perfectly possible.

  • Lois Quick

    Yep. When they start in on this whole undocumented, not a citizen, tax thing, I ask them to look around the next time they go out to eat – and they all go out to eat. Really look at who is handling your food and your dishes, from the bus persons to the dishwashers, etc. Come on, folks, this ain’t rocket science.

  • sansf

    I wonder how many of the baggers i.d. as “Republican”. My guess is that most don’t vote. Republicans who have microphones would say ‘yes, we need to be right that badly’ and the tee vee would give them an interview with no questions.
    This is not about sickness or health.
    The nuts in the news grew up with anti-christs. Facts mean nothing. What we have seen this summer will not stop. See the next photo (Beck/tongue/TIME).
    6-7 insurers control this processs. Bagger fools yell ‘nobody paid us to be here’. Of course not, the $$ went to PR and legislators.

  • Tena

    Short-sightedness seems to go along with the refusal at all to think. And the Right is so overwrought at this point, thinking is out of the question, Lois.
    Most unfortunately.

  • Michael Montazeri

    May I point out that
    1) not all Latino migrant workers are from Mexico; there *are other countries in Latin America.
    2) tuberculosis is not transmissible via fruit, only by direct respiratory contact, such as what happens in close living situations like prisons and shelters.
    3) the only era in American history when non-English-speaking immigrants were welcome with open arms was… your guess is as good as mine.

  • M. Carrera

    Good post Michael-
    As much as there is thinly veiled racism on the opposing facet. Here in a place of reason, question & seemingly indeterminate people, it seems as if the fanciful aura of tolerance has faded.

  • yg

    it’s a relief to know these workers have access to mobile clinics. didn’t know that. but why is the government shouldering this burden and not the employers? why are we giving farmers taxpayer subsidies? employers should pay the government for providing this service.

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