Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Federal agents came to Stillmore Georgia to round up illegal immigrants. The result? The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants are to the local economy. And the town is decimated.

Immigration raid devastates Ga. town
Half of workforce lost; businesses at virtual standstill
By Russ Bynum, Associated Press | September 16, 2006

STILLMORE, Ga. — Trailer parks lie abandoned. The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce. Business has dried up at stores where Mexican laborers once lined up to buy food, beer, and cigarettes just weeks ago.

This Georgia community of about 1,000 people has become little more than a ghost town since Sept. 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal immigrants.

The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.
. . .
Federal agents also swarmed into a trailer park operated by David Robinson. Illegal immigrants were handcuffed and taken away. Almost none have returned. Robinson bought an American flag and posted it by the pond out front — upside down, in protest.

“These people might not have American rights, but they’ve damn sure got human rights,” Robinson said. “There ain’t no reason to treat them like animals.”
. . .
“This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up,” (Stillmore Mayor) Slater said.

As the inimitable TRex at Firedoglake says:

It is to the South’s eternal shame that we apparently don’t know how to have business and industry here without an exploited underclass of black and brown people. We made slavery illegal, so the Good Old Boy network just forestalled integration for as long as they could and continued to exploit black labor. Then came the 60’s and the Civil Rights movement. Some things changed, but not enough. Now, in 2006, white business has found a new group of brown people to subjugate, Latino immigrants. They’ll work for $2 an hour! Why pay more?

Meanwhile, the Rush Limbaugh listeners (and there’s plenty around here) plaster their SUV’s with anti-immigration stickers and bitch and moan about illegal aliens coming here to take away good white Americans’ jobs. Does it just never occur to anyone that if businesses were forbidden to pay anyone such disgracefully low wages, we wouldn’t have this “problem”? The problem lies with the very men who are in charge.

When you hear people ranting against illegal immigration, ask yourself who benefits?

After decades of complacency, world health groups are launching an unprecedented assault on the scourge of malaria, but much work remains to be done.
. . .

Long overlooked in the age of the AIDS epidemic, malaria sickens more than 300 million people each year and kills more than 1 million. It also exacts a heavy economic toll. The World Health Organization estimates that the disease costs Africa, which sees 80 percent of the world`s cases, an estimated $12 billion per year in lost income.

Even those who are not killed experience lifelong effects, especially pregnant women and children. Malaria during pregnancy can result in miscarriage and low birth weight, and children who get the disease can grow up with slowed cognitive development.

‘The real tragedy,’ Bilimoria said, ‘is the disease is preventable and curable.’
. . .
And despite the new commitments, there is still a large funding gap, Riggs said. WHO estimates that $4.2 billion per year is needed to scale-up malaria support to reach international targets — far more than the current funding available.