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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Sunday, March 04, 2007 ::

    Colorado considers prisons as source for farmworkers - By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Los Angeles Times via Houston Chronicle
    The Department of Corrections hopes to launch a pilot program this month — thought to be the first of its kind — that would contract with more than a dozen farms to provide inmates who will pick melons, onions and peppers.

    Crops were left to spoil in the fields after passage of legislation that required state identification to obtain government services and let police check suspects' immigration status.

    "The reason this (program) started is to make sure the agricultural industry wouldn't go out of business," state Rep. Dorothy Butcher said.

    Low-risk inmates may work in the fields, earning 60 cents a day. They also are eligible for small bonuses.

    The proposal stunned advocates on both sides of the immigration debate.

    "If they can't get slaves from Mexico, they want them from the jails," said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, which favors immigration restrictions.
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