San Francisco is home to an increasing number of impoverished Chinese immigrants. Another story in the local news confirms what is a growing phenomenon in San Francisco. The return of stoop labor with a modern twist: Armies of heavily laden Chinese laborers combing the streets of San Francisco for recyclables.
And our story is illustrated by a traffic accident where Cheng Jin Lai, a Chinese immigrant, was killed.
SF Weekly November 6, 2013 by Joe Eskenazi
On Oct. 18, the 78-year-old was pedaling through SoMa with a sack of recyclables strapped to his bicycle at 8:45 in the morning. That`s a rough life for anyone, let alone a man a few ticks shy of 80.
So, America`s immigration policy is based on bringing in laborers that will collect aluminum cans from the streets and public trash cans. Is this labor that America needs?
It is illustrative, though, of an immigration policy based on family reunification and not language, job skills or education. Lai obviously came here based on a family connection. A child, sibling or parent sponsored him, ensuring sometime in the future his death under a bus, and a life of ceaseless labor for long hours each day scouring the streets for recyclables, rain or shine.
These old Chinese people are quite a common and pathetic sight now in San Francisco. They can be seen like Lai on bicycles, pulling granny carts, and more traditionally with two large bags balanced on a carrying pole in the classic Chinese manner.
It is no life for an aged person, but they are drawn here by promises of a golden mountain, but there is no gold for the illiterate, aged, infirm, and unskilled. Only ceaseless labor like this, or endless hours in a restaurant or sweatshop, all to enrich those connected to politicians like Dianne Feinstein or Nancy Pelosi, or as cannon fodder in the war to elect a new people.
Cheng Jin Lai was a victim of those evil forces. Not of a failure to install a safety device. It was the ideologues that believed aged and infirm immigrants contribute to a post-industrial society.