How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Life imitating art? 'A Day Without a Mexican' plays out in Alabama

Watching this Associated Press video on the Washington Post website of desperate farmers in Alabama, trying to get their crops picked after a strict new anti-illegal immigration law has driven many Latino immigrants out of the state, reminded me of something I'd seen before.

In 2004, the political satire "A Day Without a Mexican" comically asked what might happen to California if all the Mexicans in the state mysteriously disappeared, bringing businesses, restaurants, and just about everything else dependent on immigrant labor to a halt.

Fast-forward to 2011: Latin American immigrants fearful of being deported under the new Alabama law have been packing up, leaving the state and their jobs. With Alabama's agricultural industry dependent on immigrant labor, farmers have been left in the lurch. An attempt to hire unemployed Americans to do the backbreaking work of harvesting crops isn't working out. "They're not physically in shape to do it, and, you know, probably not mentally tough enough to do it, some of them," one farmer complains in the video.

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