Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lloyd Carter, Fresno Activist, Sparks Farmworker Controversy

Well, I'm glad I'm not personally involved in this classic case study of politically-correct totalitarianism.

Fresno City Hall

It turns out that Lloyd Carter, a Fresno-area activist, has resigned from his positions on a couple of Central Valley environmental-conservation organizations amid a backlash to comments he made regarding illegal immigrants. The Fresno Bee has the story:

A deputy attorney general and environmental activist whose comments about farmworkers sparked a protest rally Monday has resigned from the board of the California Water Impact Network.

Mike Jackson, who serves on the same board, said Lloyd Carter submitted his resignation during a conference call among board members Monday morning.

"His statement is not us, and he was speaking for us," Jackson said. "We thought we had to take some steps."

Carter's comments were made to a KMPH (Channel 26) reporter before a debate on water policy at California State University, Fresno, on Wednesday.

Carter said farmworkers who would lose jobs if west-side Valley farmers don't receive water from the California Delta this year are "not even American citizens for starters. Do you think we should employ illegal aliens?"

He also said the children of farmworkers are among the least-educated people in the southwest corner of the Valley. "They turn to lives of crime. They go on welfare. They get into drug trafficking and they join gangs."

Carter said Monday afternoon, "I've apologized. I don't know what else people want from me. People who know me know I'm not a racist."

Carter issued a written apology on his Web site,

An apology also was broadcast on Channel 26.

"My comments were directed at the exploitation of farmworkers in the southwest corner of the Valley, which is the poorest place in America," Carter's apology reads in part.

"I now realize I made a terrible mistake in the way I expressed myself and I humbly apologize to all who were offended," he wrote.

The California Water Impact Network has issued apologies for Carter's comments, Jackson said. "We're very, very sorry and are busy apologizing -- as is Lloyd -- to everything that moves."

Jackson said he doesn't know why Carter made the comments.

"There is nothing in Lloyd Carter's career, background or experience that explains what he was trying to say. We don't believe he has any of those feelings," Jackson said.

Carter is a deputy attorney general in the criminal division of the California Attorney General's Office and is a former Fresno Bee reporter.

He serves on the boards of California Save Our Streams Council and Revive The San Joaquin, and he is a director of the Underground Gardens Conservancy, a preservation group for the Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno.

About 250 farmworkers, farmers, politicians and community activists attended the rally in front of Fresno City Hall. Some called for Carter's resignation.
There's more at the link.

Readers can read Lloyd's apology, posted at his blog,

I'm looking over the offending comments at
the Fresno Bee piece again, and for the most part, Lloyd's crime is that his statements were raw, sweeping stereotypes posed off-the-cuff, rather than in a more appropriate context, like a scholarly panel debating the issues or in an article backed by evidence.

Certainly, it's unexceptional to suggest that children of farmworkers "turn to lives of crime." Quite a few do, as Heather MacDonald has shown in her research, "
The Immigrant Gang Plague." Indeed, in another essay, MacDonald notes that:

Arizona and California lawmakers want to free taxpayers from the nearly $1 billion a year burden of detaining illegal criminals—and the even costlier burden of detaining those illegals’ children. In Fresno, now 45 percent Hispanic, 20 percent of the county jail inmates are illegal immigrants, as are about one-quarter of emergency-room patients. No wonder Fresno’s mayor called in November 2005 for securing the border.
And here's Victor Davis Hanson, a Fresno farmer himself who knows a thing or two about these issues:

For many professors, politicians, and columnists, the gangs, increased crime, and crowded jails that often result from massive illegal immigration and open borders are not daily concerns, but rather stereotypes hysterically evoked by paranoid and unenlightened others in places like Bakersfield and Laredo.

So, what is the truth on illegal immigration?

Simple. Millions of fair-minded white, African-, Mexican- and Asian-Americans fear that we are not assimilating millions of aliens from south of the border as fast as they are crossing illegally from Mexico.

In the frontline American southwest, entire apartheid communities and enclaves within cities have sprung up whose distinct language, culture, and routines are beginning to resemble more the tense divides in the Balkans or Middle East than the traditional melting pot of multiracial America.

Concern over this inevitable slowdown in integration and assimilation is neither racist nor nativist. It grows out of real worry that when millions of impoverished arrive in mass without legality, education, and the ability to speak English, costly social problems follow that will not be offset by the transitory economic benefits cheap wages may provide.
I'll update when I have more information.


Photo Credit: "About 250 people attended a rally Monday in front of Fresno City Hall. Some called for the resignation of Lloyd Carter, a deputy state attorney general and environmental activist whose comments about farmworkers sparked the protest," Fresno Bee.


Donna B. said...

Resistance to assimilation comes from both sides.

Average American said...

It didn't appear to me that he lied at all. Maybe the truth should come out. After all, isn't it California that will be sending out IOUs instead of tax refunds shortly? I'd be more than a little pissed off if I lived there and knew where the money was going that should be refunded to legal taxpaying citizens.

Norm said...

I hear CA has a 42 billion dollar deficit coming next year; NYS has a 15.5 billion dollar deficit upcoming.

This past October, at a League of Women's Voters debate I asked the candidates for NYS Senate and Assembly how they plan to cover the deficit.

Their first response was that they were going to stop those darn Indians who are selling non-taxed cigarettes on the reservation and the web, and force them to collect the taxes.

Our governments are run by idiots.

shoprat said...

Those who tell the truth are punished for it. That is the opposite of what the First Amendment (which is basically the right to tell the truth and state honestly held opinions) is all about.

Tim Whitfield said...

KMPH has posted the entire 10 minute interview of Lloyd Carter on their site. Lloyd also has a transcript of it and the entire interview on his site for all to see.

It is clear to see that his intentions were pointing out the social problems of bringing in "250,000 to half a million farm laborers as we all know most of them enter the country illegally to bring in the harvest to work in the packing sheds. They bring a lot of social problems with them, the next generation. On any given day in Fresno there’s 3500 people in jail, 1500 of those people are gang members and a lot of those people are second generation farm workers," while the intention of the reporter was to make a fool out of him and spark controversy by splicing two comments, out of chronological order and taking them out of their context.

Unfortunately, the damage to Lloyd's reputation and career is done. What's left is just the problems. We need to work toward solving these problems.

Go check out Lloyd's blog...

Anonymous said...

As usual, the great Professor doesn't address the root of these so called "illegal immigrant" problems.

If highly subsidized American agri-business didn't over run countries like Mexico into the ground, maybe those workers would have an opportunity to stay in their own countries and make a living?

Why do you think Mexico city has a population of 20 million people? An excessive labour force (incase it needed to be pointed out), coupled with non-unionized workers, drive wages to the bottom of the pit. While this certainly is a boon for multi-billion dollar corporations like Dole and but what does is the end result of this trickle down effect? The end result happens to be an influx of migrant workers, many of which are seeking refuge in America.

Some of you intellectually dishonest fools just don't seem to comprehend that your chickens will eventually come home to roost.

You folks are experts and scraping the surface of these deep rooted problems and are certainly quick to make scape goats out of anyone.

In this case, Mexican migrant workers happen to be at the end of your misguided outrage. An outrage that should be placed squarely on failed policies and one-sided trade agreements with corrupt third world countries.

Is it willful ignorance, or ignorance of convenience?

Chip Ashley said...

What is going on here is perfectly clear: the people who exploit undocumented workers--the bankers, the big capitalists, the wealthy land interests--are cynically using them in yet another evil way. It is not enough to manipulate them into back-breaking work for little or no pay, with no benefits. Now these devils are using these poor people as weapons to settle the score with a truthful critic.

Anonymous said...

I have grown up with my grandparents and parents working in the fields. We understood the vaule of work ethic and the importance of education. Because of this, our family has now a collection of college grads with
MBA's and Phd's and a few doctors and lawyers. Mr. Carter ignorantly generalized the farmworking communites. It is very apparent that there is still racism out there or should I say ignorance. It is so sad. If you look at the % numbers of our california prison systems, it is 40% white. Shocking isn't it? Now to our states billoins of dollars of debt. Blaming farm workers is ludacrist. It is due to mismanagement and coporate greed. Do I need to go on? This man got what he deserved. It is clear that there will be no tolerance for this type of racism.

Anonymous said...


I will be eagerly awaiting a substantive response to an account like yours.

American politics seem to thrive on making gross generalizations.

In this case, Mexican farm workers seem to be facing the outrage from more self-righteous, racist and religious nuttery that are also bent on holding the Republican party up from the last thread of its g-string.