• 75°

When pictures lie

SALISBURY — For her homemade video, a woman trained a smart phone on the bus which has just delivered adults to Salisbury’s Walmart.
It went downhill from there.
She delivered running commentary as the folks of Latin American descent got on and off the old school bus. She shot the video through the windshield of her car.
“This is something that is a major problem for our government today,” she said, narrating. “I don’t know why this is happening. I don’t know why they’re allowing these illegal immigrants to come here and give them government subsidies to shop here and get supplies.”
The video captured about two-and-a-half minutes as the woman also interjected that “not one of them speaks English” and how “they’re new to America.” She said she had learned they were staying in China Grove, and she promised a person walking by she would be posting her video to the Internet.
“This is a major issue for America,” the woman said. “… I’m so upset right now. I’m really, really upset.”
Pretty much none of what the woman’s video portends to be factual is. They were not illegal immigrants. They were spending their own money, not the government’s, and few were new to America.
In short, the video with its narration is a gross misrepresentation of what was going on, but the woman followed through on her promise to post the video on YouTube.
As of Wednesday, it had gained traction (13,000 views), much to the concern of Rowan County’s Patterson Farm Inc. where these guest workers are part of the season’s workforce.
Comments below the video identified Patterson Farm as the employer of these “illegal immigrants.”
The video was shared to several other sites, and the farm began receiving a lot of calls questioning what was going on with the workers. The governor’s office even made an inquiry by telephone.
The video’s title on YouTube — “Migrant workers with EBT cards in school buses arrive at N.C. Walmart” — was another inaccuracy.
“We truly value these workers and what they do for our farm to provide food for people in this country,” Michelle Patterson said Wednesday. “We’re concerned they’re being misrepresented, and we don’t want them to feel threatened in any way. They’re just trying to get groceries to make it through the week.”
Patterson Farm employs about 120 agricultural guest workers through the H2A program authorized by Congress in 1986.
Some of the guest workers have worked at Patterson Farm for more than 20 years. To abide by the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the farm is required to pay the guest workers’ transportation from and back to their countries of origin.
Patterson Farm also provides housing, low-cost meals and guaranteed employment for at least 75 percent of the period specified in their work contracts.
As pay, the H2A guest workers receive an “adverse effect wage rate” from Patterson Farm of $9.87 a hour, well above the federal minimum wage in North Carolina of $7.25 an hour.
Patterson Farm deposits the workers’ wages onto individual pay cards, which they can use to purchase items when they go shopping at places such as Walmart, which welcomes the business.
The farm provides a former school bus to take the guest workers to Salisbury’s Walmart on Sundays so they can buy groceries and other items they might need for the coming week.
Before you lodge a complaint about the guest workers taking jobs from U.S. citizens, you should know that Patterson Farm has to establish “there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing and qualified” for these same jobs.
Patterson Farm is required to make efforts to find U.S. workers and advertise these jobs each year. Michelle Patterson said the farm does that, but it still would not be able to produce the fruits and vegetables it does without the guest workers.
In years past, she noted, the farm has hired upwards of 90 local people one day only to find they didn’t return the next because they found the work too hard.
“Our crops are very labor-intensive,” Patterson said.
It’s the peak of the growing season now for tomatoes and other crops, and Patterson Farm is bustling with activity. The guest workers are here for six months, coming in the spring and leaving in the fall.
They help with the planting, harvesting and grading, and Patterson said the guest workers send a lot of their earnings to families back home.
“It concerns us that they are being misrepresented,” she repeated about this video making the rounds. “The whole thing is false, that whole situation is false.
“… I think it’s a sensitive time because of other things happening in the country right now.”
By late Wednesday morning, the video had a disclaimer attached. It said, “a local Tea Party group has confirmed that these are not part of Obama’s illegal immigrant surge being bused in from the border right now. … While these are legal immigrants, please remain diligent for Obama’s dropoffs of illegals in your communities. Great work team!”
Yeah, great work.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mark.wineka@salisburypost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Cornhole tournament at New Sarum Brewery brings out Panthers fans, raises money for charity

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking and entering, burglary tools

Nation/World

Senators race to overcome final snags in infrastructure deal

Crime

Child killed in Monroe drive-by shooting; 1 arrested

Local

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Dragon Boat race returns after year hiatus

Local

Marker commemorating Jim Crow-era lynchings in Rowan County, racial injustice required years of work

Local

Identified Marine was a Salisbury native, served in WWII

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees COVID-19 cases coming more quickly, remains in middle tier for community spread

Cleveland

Cleveland plans to build walking trail, community barn quilt mural

High School

High school athletics: Male Athlete of the Year Walker in league of once-in-a-generation players

Business

Young entrepreneur learns lesson of responsibility by raising quail, selling eggs

Lifestyle

Historic McCanless House sold, buyers plan on converting home into events venue

Lifestyle

Library’s Summer Reading Week 10 has virtual storytime, last chance to log hours

Coronavirus

Positive COVID test knocks DeChambeau out of Olympics

College

College football: North grad Delaney ready for next challenges at Johnson C. Smith

College

Fishing: Carson grad Bauer signs with CVCC

Business

Biz Roundup: City of Salisbury brings back in-person community resource fair

Nation/World

States scale back virus reporting just as cases surge

Nation/World

Wildfires blasting through West draw states to lend support

Nation/World

French protesters reject virus passes, vaccine mandate

News

State briefs roundup

Crime

Salisbury man arrested for robbery in Cleveland

Crime

Blotter: South Carolina man arrested after attempting to purchase dog with stolen credit card

Local

Carolyn Hurley remembered as giving person