"They're Crying Inside the Plant" - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/20/07 - Nacogdoches

"They're Crying Inside the Plant"

by Donna McCollum

Rafael Garcia and his three year old daughter share a lunch at the taco stand across from Pilgrim's Pride. The child clings to her father and playfully gives him kisses on the cheek. They soon will face an uncertain future. In two weeks Garcia loses the job he's had for the last six years at Pilgrim's Pride. So does the child's mother, his ex wife. Garcia says of other single moms, "They're crying inside the plant, especially the ladies, the mothers with no support."

They're among the hundreds with false social security numbers. Through an interpreter Garcia says, " Everybody is doing it. It's the one way to get a job. It's getting some papers. It's just they're no good. " And the false documentation that employers are willing to accept is easy to obtain. When asked where to obtain the false documentation the interpreter says, " Everywhere. They can't say where exactly, but they know where they can get it. "  

Spanish missions, like the one led by Fabian Lopez are trying to find employment for displaced workers. His son helps him explain.   Fabian Lopez Jr said,  " Like cleaning houses or something for them because and help food or other jobs like clean yards like that. " Those jobs don't come with the pay nor the benefits provided at Pilgrim's Pride. Lopez is certain his congregation of 200 worshippers will get smaller. Lopez said, " They can or will move to other state or city because they need to find another job."    

Rey de Reyes has been in a sanctuary provided by First Christian church for 2 years, but the congregation has been working hard to raise money for their own building. Now they can only wonder if the Pilgrim's Pride layoff will affect their efforts. Each Sunday generous donations are collected, but the offering may soon be limited to the spare change jar placed at the pulpit. The lead pastor at First Christian Church, Terry Hodge,  is concerned.    " They lose the financial part, but they in many cases get uprooted and get moved to a new place so it traumatic experience not just for those who lose their jobs, but for their whole families, " said Hodge.

Like little Citlali. All her father knows is he will follow her, where ever that may be.  

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