In honor of immigrant laborers past, present, and future, Woody Guthrie’s “The Deportees” sang by Tom Morello:
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be “deportees”
My father’s own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.
Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except “deportees”?
Lost to history for 65 years, the Los Angeles Times recently published a list of the names of the twenty-eight deportees whose deaths inspired Guthrie: Miguel Negrete Álvarez, Tomás Aviña de Gracia, Francisco Llamas Durán, Santiago García Elizondo, Rosalio Padilla Estrada, Tomás Padilla Márquez, Bernabé López Garcia, Salvador Sandoval Hernández, Severo Medina Lára, Elías Trujillo Macias, José Rodriguez Macias, Luis López Medina, Manuel Calderón Merino, Luis Cuevas Miranda, Martin Razo Navarro, Ignacio Pérez Navarro, Román Ochoa Ochoa, Ramón Paredes Gonzalez, Guadalupe Ramírez Lára, Apolonio Ramírez Placencia, Alberto Carlos Raygoza, Guadalupe Hernández Rodríguez, Maria Santana Rodríguez, Juan Valenzuela Ruiz, Wenceslao Flores Ruiz, José Valdívia Sánchez, Jesús Meza Santos, Baldomero Marcas Torres.