Wednesday, March 07, 2007

TWIF Education sample essay

Eng 102

Education for Undocumented Immigrants

According to writer Peter Rousamaniere, “Washington State has 164,579 undocumented workers.” This statistic only covers illegal immigrants who work in our state, it does not account for unemployed immigrants residing here. Having these undocumented immigrants in America can benefit our country. Author Thomas Friedman wrote of the need for companies, as well as individuals, to compete as globalization gives us a larger, flatter field. This flatter playing field is realized as those in developing countries, with the use of technology, can now equally compete with those in America and around the world. Some argue educating the undocumented students of our valley is too expensive, however, educating them would give us a larger intelligence pool, which would enable us to compete better in a flat world by having more people to come up with new ideas.

Many immigrants, some illegal, work low wage jobs. Here in the Yakima Valley, the prime example is working in the fields. Educating these workers enables them to get a better job, making them more productive in our businesses and society. Friedman explains why education is the key to surviving and thriving in the new flat world. He says, “As we push the frontiers of human knowledge, work at every level becomes more complex, requiring more pattern recognition and problem solving” (Friedman 372-73). More complex jobs force the common layman to be proficient in the latest technology and skills available. The education of future employees is not only necessary for the employee sake, but is a requirement for surviving in a global economy.

Those who have the skills necessary can compete; those lacking skills are of little assistance. In reference to globalization, Reverend Jesse Jackson, founder and President of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Citizen Education Fund said, “Let’s fight the fight. Let’s level the playing field. Drunk people can’t do that. Illiterate people can’t do that” (qtd. in Friedman 387). Those who are illiterate and uneducated cannot help us compete globally. According to journalist Larry Roberts, “As many as 44 million [people in America] cannot read a newspaper or fill out a job application.” Many people in our country cannot read and thus do not have the skills necessary to be of aid. Undocumented immigrants are often uneducated and usually work low-wage jobs. Educating those illegal immigrants can give them the ability to get better jobs. But this is more than a mere act of kindness. Once immigrants are educated, they are capable of aiding the country in our struggle to prosper in a global economy. They can adapt to globalization and think of groundbreaking ideas with their newfound knowledge, learned in our classrooms.

Allowing immigrants in our classrooms can be of value to us, as they are often eager to learn and discover new things. Friedman tells of an immigrant family who, “Complained their child didn’t have enough homework, or a good enough science book” (342). This is not a criticism often heard in the school districts. In this case, the foreign parents held higher standards for their child than Americans, and sought to raise the achievement level. Author Richard Rodriguez explains that most immigrants have this drive, legal or not. He says, “We, the children of immigrants, are never as bold, never as driven as our grandparents. That is why we become so amazed sometimes by immigrant ambition” (qtd. in Williamson 98). In America we are all children of immigrants, but often lose our ambition as generations pass. Immigrants in our school districts have the capability to renew our drive to achieve by exhibiting it themselves.
Immigrant students with ambition deserve an education but that education can also be of use to us. Bill Brody, President of John Hopkins University, wrote of the need to educate as many as we can, especially of those already in America. He said, “We are in a global talent search, so anything we can do in America to get these top draft choices we should do, because one of them is going to be Babe Ruth, and why should we let him or her go somewhere else?” (qtd. in Friedman). There are many undocumented immigrants whom we could educate. Brody points out that in passing up the opportunity to educate them, we have talent never fully realized.

While educating undocumented immigrants is for our good as well as theirs, it also has drawbacks. For one, legal American citizens fund the education system and pay to teach these undocumented students. The cost can be expensive, especially when the student does not speak English. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group committed to promoting a “FAIR” United States says, “Every non-English speaker costs from $290 to $879 [more] per pupil in Washington State.” In our state alone, it can cost nearly nine hundred extra dollars to educate just one foreign student per year. When the student is illegal, the burden will most likely fall on taxpayers.

Though the cost to taxpayers can be expensive, one must ask: What is the cost of not educating illegal immigrants? As Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance” (qtd in “Think”). Having millions of uneducated people in our society can prove treacherous. Statistics from Steve King, tell of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. He says, “Illegal aliens murder 12 Americans daily…. The death toll in 2006 far overshadows the total U. S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. (This was figured by multiplying 12 Americans killed daily)” (qtd in Farah). Of the many Americans killed by the events of September eleventh and the wars thereafter, King’s statistics report illegal aliens are responsible for even more deaths here at home. What will it take to prevent these crimes? Education, according to Nelson Mandela, is the answer. He says, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (qtd. in “Wisdom”). Changing the life of one person can have a much larger affect in a world characterized by globalization. While education is costly, it cannot be cheaper than the lives saved from violence or the money saved in housing fewer criminals in our prison system. Journalist Ruby Takanishi attempts to put a number on this. She says, “For every dollar spent on good education, society saves seven dollars in costs for special education, delinquency, and crime control” (Takanishi). The expense of educating illegal immigrants is outweighed by the price paid in leaving them uneducated.

Besides a financial burden, another disadvantage in educating undocumented immigrants is larger classrooms. Yakima County, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, “Has an estimated 16.9 percent foreign born population” (“FAIR). Though certainly not all of our foreign born population is illegal, more students contribute to larger class sizes. Research regarding the effect a larger classroom can have on quality education is varied; some experts believe class size has a large impact while others are unconvinced. Whatever the case may be, the Yakima Valley can afford to share a classroom with undocumented students in an effort to educate as many as possible to compete in globalization.

Another point against educating illegal immigrants is that educating the children of undocumented workers gives the parents reason to stay and work our low wage jobs. In the Yakima Valley immigrants are commonly hired over native U. S. citizens. This is especially true in agriculture, where immigrants are most commonly hired for the picking, pruning and harvesting of our crops. Reporter Leah Beth Ward observes, “Up to 70% of the Yakima Valley’s farm worker force is estimated to be illegal.” Educating undocumented immigrants will get them out of these jobs just as educating poor American citizens raises their standard of living. Once those in poverty are educated, legal and illegal, they are able to compete in a global market. As skill jobs are replaced with technology or are outsourced, we need more jobs created. Thomas Friedman remarks, “There’s no limit to the number of idea-generated jobs in the world” (267). Educating undocumented immigrants give us more people in our country that can come up with idea-based jobs to help us flourish in the new flat world.

In order for undocumented students to truly help us compete globally, higher education must be available to them. This is an option that has not been opened to them, namely because they must pay out of state tuition. In a world where skills and specialization are necessary, limiting illegal immigrants to a high school education is almost as though we chose not to educate them. Congress has attempted to pass The DREAM Act in an effort to aid undocumented students who wish to attend college. The National Immigrant Law Center summarizes the purpose of the act, “[It would] Eliminate the federal provision that discourages state from providing in-state tuition without regard to immigration status; and permit some immigrant students who have grown up in the U. S. to apply for legal status.” Congress has attempted to give undocumented students access to higher education, which is for their benefit as well as ours. The DREAM Act has not been passed but its presentation shows that allowing immigrants to pay in-state tuition is a live issue, which many politicians are in favor of. The full potential of undocumented immigrants will likely never be realized if they cannot afford higher education.

Educating illegal immigrants has a cost, financially and otherwise. Yet the reward of having more knowledgeable people is an asset to the country and is worth the expense. We need as many intelligent individuals as possible to help us compete in a global market. Illegal immigrants are already in the Yakima Valley in considerable numbers and thus are a resource easily tapped. Discussing the importance of education, Aristotle said, “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth” (qtd. in “Wisdom”). Our country depends on how we compete globally, which relies on how many educated people we have. Leaving illegal immigrants uneducated is leaving behind an untold number of “Babe Ruth’s.”

Works Cited
“FAIR.” Breaking the Piggy Bank: How Illegal Immigration is Sending Schools Into the Red.
2005. Federation for American Immigration Reform. 21 Feb. 2007.
---. County Factsheet: Yakima County, Washington. 5 Mar. 2007.

Farah, Joseph. “Invasion USA.” World Net Daily. 2006. 26 Feb. 2007.
< article_id="53103">
Freidman, Thomas. The World is Flat. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
National Immigration Law Center. Immigrant Student Adjustment and Access to Higher
Education. 27 Feb. 2007.
Roberts, Larry. “Illiteracy On The Rise In America.” World Socialist. 1998. 26 Feb. 2007.
Rousmaniere, Peter. Number of Undocumented Workers by State and Their Workforce Share.
2006. 27 Feb. 2007.
Takanishi, Ruby. Reconsidering When Education Begins: What Happens Before Kindergarten
Matters. 2003. 27 Feb. 2007. <
“Think.” Derek Bok Quotes. 27 Feb. 2007. <
Ward, Leah Beth. “More Fruit Growers Ready To Use Guest-Worker Program.” Yakima Herald
Republic. 2007. 26 Feb. 2007.
Williamson, Chilton Jr. The Immigration Mystique. New York: BasicBooks, 1996.
“Wisdom.” Ed. Jone Johnson Lewis. 20 Feb. 2007.

Minute Men

Mr. Peters
English 102
February 27, 2007

Protecting our Borders or Destroying our Economy

Every year hundreds of thousands of people attempt to enter the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families. Most of them enter through the Mexican border crossing rugged mountains, deserts and rivers; some don’t make it across alive. The difficulties facing these people range from running out of food and water, being dropped off in the middle of nowhere by the men hired to bring them across and being caught by the U.S. Border Patrol. If they are caught they may spend up to six months in a U.S. jail before they are sent back across the border. These difficulties have always been there, but it is getting harder and harder to cross the border into America. The tightening of the border has lead many people to give up their quest to live and work in the United States. In Thomas L. Friedman’s book The World is Flat he described the effect of the fences and border restrictions on the economy, “Even as the world gets flat, America as a whole will benefit more by sticking to the general principles of free trade, as is always does, than by trying to erect wall” (263). One of the groups responsible for the tightening is the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps which had a local meeting in Selah last November.

The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps is a group of civilians who believe the U.S. government has let them down and have taken it upon themselves to do what they can to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Their supporters feel that the Minutemen are protecting America by keeping people from crossing its borders illegally. Their opponents feel that the Minutemen are racist vigilantes because their main focus is on the Mexico/US border where most of the people trying to cross are from Mexico and other Latin American countries. While the Minutemen feel that they are protecting America from being overrun by illegal immigrants and making it a better country, they are in fact severely damaging local economies such as the Yakima Valley and its ability to thrive in the flat world because the immigrants that work most of the agricultural jobs are not making their yearly journey to work here.

Estimates by the Department of Homeland Security show that the population of illegal immigrants increased from 8.5 million to 10.5 million between 2000 and 2005. However most of this increase occurred in 2000-2002 with 2.1 million illegal immigrants entering the country. The population increase was cut in dramatically in 2003-2004 when 1 million illegal immigrants came to the United States due to the tightening of border security. The federal government has increased spending and manpower to help reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country through the Canadian and specifically the Mexican borders but many people, such as the Minutemen, feel that the government has not done enough.

According to the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps their purpose is,
“to see the borders and coastal boundaries of the United States secured against the unlawful and unauthorized entry of all individuals, contraband, and foreign military. We will employ all means of civil protest, demonstration, and political lobbying to accomplish this goal” (Minutemen).
The Minutemen have a strict set of guidelines that volunteer members must follow to help ensure the safety of its members and preserve the integrity of the organization. One of their guidelines states that Minutemen believe that “ethnicity, race, or religion is irrelevant in the debate over illegal immigration and there is no tolerance among Minutemen for racism or bigotry.” At the November meeting in the Selah Civic Center Minutemen chapter head and Yakima resident Bob Dameron told the crowd at the meeting, “These people outside label us as racist and vigilantes; it’s all blank lies. We’re not racist, we’re proud Americans and we love our country” (qtd. in Antone). That sentiment is heard and felt through out the Minutemen organization and their supporters.

One of the ways the Minutemen are protecting the border and reducing number of people crossing the border is by setting up patrols in key areas along the Mexican border. These patrols are manned by their volunteer membership that have “backgrounds in military and law enforcement operations” but stress that they are “not a military-oriented organization and have no intension of ever being one.” The Minutemen have a firm set of rules that must be followed to avoid the type of vigilantism that opponents accuse them of being involved in. As stated in their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) while on patrol “Minutemen do not verbally contact, physically gesture to or have any form of communications with suspected Illegal Aliens.” The Minutemen do not detain people; rather they are an extra set of eyes and ears helping the U.S. Border Patrol. In addition to the patrols a fence along the Mexican border is “being built with privately donated funds, engineering and labor and will be used as an example to educate the public about the feasibility and efficacy of fencing to secure America’s borders from illegal incursion by aliens and international criminal cartels.” The people who support the Minutemen are very grateful that this group has decided to do something about the flow of illegal immigrants into America.

At the Selah meeting the Minutemen found that they had the support of local citizens. Selah resident Carl Evans offered his support by saying, “Why worry about overseas when you can’t keep your own borders secure? That’s why I support them (Minutemen). They’re doing a great job” (qtd. in Antone). The Minutemen are seen as concerned citizens who are trying to protect America and are making up for the short comings of the federal government. While the Minutemen do have their supporters, not everyone agrees with what the Minutemen are doing.
Those opposed to the group feel that the Minutemen are targeting the people of Mexico and other Latin America countries. Some of the local groups that oppose the Minutemen are Águila Del Norte-Yakima, which is a legal observation group with ties to the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Hispanic Alliance for Justice in Yakima and the Washington State Democratic Party Latino Caucus. Águila Del Norte-Yakima spokeswoman Maria Cuevas says that “When private citizens take the laws into their hands, there’s a real potential for violence and abuse” (qtd. in Gonzalez). While the founder of the Washington State Democratic Party Latino Caucus Tony Sandoval said “I fear for my safety, I don’t want anybody to get hurt” (qtd in Gonzalez). A major issue with the Minutemen is the apparent targeting of Hispanic people attempting to cross the border, which is seen as being racist and bigoted. One onlooker at the November meeting was Miguel Rodrigues who is a member of MEChA, the Chicano Student Movement of Azatlan. Mr. Rodrigues said “We understand they have the right to be bigoted and prejudiced, but when they turn that into actions, that’s what we have a problem with” (qtd. in Antone). This is not the only issue that people have with the Minutemen, local farms and orchards are feeling the effects of the Minutemen’s efforts.

The border patrols conducted by the Minutemen are having an effect on the economy in the Yakima Valley because fewer workers are showing up to work in the fields and orchards. An article in the Puget Sound Business Journal details the effects on the reduced number of workers crossing the border. In that article, the executive director of the Washington Growers League, Mike Gempler, said that “Last year a combination of tighter border controls and competitive wages in other industries kept the supply of migrant farmworkers at 10 percent to 15 percent fewer than needed, leading to bleak choices for some fruit farmers.” Without a significant workforce, many orchards will have fruit left on the trees or picked so late in the season they lose their commercial value. The people trying to cross the border to work would always be able to find work because they are considered “untouchable, because their jobs must be done in a specific location” (Friedman 280). This lack of manpower due to border restrictions is severely affecting the way the Yakima Valley competes in the flat world.

The farmers and orchardists are not the only group that will feel the effect of the reduced immigrant population. The Yakima Valley economy itself will suffer because there will be fewer people spending money while they work here. Some people feel that the illegal immigrants are a burden on the economy because they don’t have jobs and live on welfare, this is not entirely true. In fact according to a recent writing by Francine J. Lipman in the legal journal Tax Lawyer:
“Americans believe that undocumented immigrants are exploiting the United States' economy. The widespread belief is that illegal aliens cost more in government services than they contribute to the economy. This belief is undeniably false . . . Eighty-five percent of eminent economists surveyed have concluded that undocumented immigrants have had a positive (seventy-four percent) or neutral (eleven percent) impact on the U.S. economy.”
If the illegal immigrants are such a burden on the American economy, why do so many economists agree that they have a positive affect and not a negative one?

While there may be an extremely large amount of illegal immigrants in the U.S. the benefits of them being here outweigh the consequences. A majority of them are just trying to make a living and earn enough to send to their families back home. Some people may say that they are sending all of the money that they earn back home so it has a negative affect on our economy, but they need to realize that the workers live here while they work. That means they will be shopping at our stores, spending money that will support our economy. The Minutemen may have good intentions but have become the protectionists that Friedman wrote about, “So far America has not succumbed either to economic protectionists, who want to put up walls to keep jobs in, or national security protectionists, who want workers out” (315). The walls are going up for our protection, but it is the local economy that is suffering because of those walls.

Works Cited

Antone, Rod. “Minutemen Meeting Brings Protests in Selah.” Yakima Herald Republic 13 Nov. 2006. 16 Feb. 2007
Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
Gonzalez, Eloisa Ruano. “Minutemen Opponents Rally.” Yakima Herald Republic 25 Oct. 2006. 16 Feb. 2007
Lipman, Francine J., "Taxing Undocumented Immigrants: Separate, Unequal and Without Representation”. Tax Lawyer, Spring 2006 Available at SSRN:
Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.
United States. Department of Homeland Security. Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2005. August 2006
Wilhelm, Steve. “Farmers Fear Worker Shortage” Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) 15 May 2006. 20 Feb. 2007

Education in the Flat World

English 102
Final Draft
Educating Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants only come to the United States to start gangs, deal drugs and steal anything they can get their hands on, right? Wrong! Many of the undocumented immigrants that are in the United States are children of the immigrant parents that brought them here. They are hardworking, dedicated, and eager to learn. Most of them don’t find out that they are undocumented until they are in high school. They want to be educated and want to contribute to the United States’ economy, so that they are not forced to live a life of crime. Why should we turn our backs to those who want to help? Thomas L. Friedman, in his book The World Is Flat, says we need more educated people, and these undocumented students want to learn. We should make it possible for undocumented students to upgrade their education and their knowledge skills by granting them in-state tuition, so that they can help us, the Yakima Valley and the United States, compete against other countries in the new flat world.

We should all be aware of the fact that we can no longer compete with the rest of the world for low-wage jobs thanks to outsourcing and the flat world. Friedman talks about how people need to upgrade their education and upgrade their knowledge skills so that they can occupy one of the new jobs created in the flat world. He also states, “There may be a limit to the number of good factory jobs in the world, but there is no limit to the number of idea-generated jobs in the world”(267). By giving undocumented students access to a higher education, they can now compete with the rest of the world for these idea-generated jobs, making the United States economy stronger and more successful. Friedman also states, “If the flat world is about connecting all the knowledge pools together, we want our knowledge pool to be the biggest”(376). If we educate these undocumented students, then they become a part of our knowledge pool. So the more we educate, the more our pool grows, getting closer and closer to being the biggest.

Currently in the United States there are ten states that are smart enough to pass laws that permit certain undocumented students to in-state tuition. The state of Washington is among these ten states, which means the Yakima Valley is affected by these laws. Those ten states understand that most undocumented immigrants are here to stay, whether or not they have the access to postsecondary education, and whether or not they are undocumented or documented. By providing these immigrants with a basic level of education beyond high school, their contribution to economic growth will increase while reducing their dependence on public and/or community assistance. According to Jennifer Robinson, “Students with a degree are more productive, less likely to need government assistance, and help to maintain a strong state economy”(“In-State Tuition” 4), and according to the National Immigration Law Center, “Each person who attends college and obtains a professional job means one less drain on the social service (and possibly criminal justice) budgets of the state and an asset in terms of payment of taxes and the attraction to the state of high-wage employers seeking well-educated workers”(“Basic Facts” 2). Another point is that the money that undocumented students pay, increases the schools revenues because it represents an income that would other wise not be their.

Yet there are arguments against the laws that grant in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. They argue that the laws go against the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). They refer to Section 505 of the IIRIRA which states:
An alien who is not lawfully in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State…for any postsecondary benefit unless a citizen or nation of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident. (qtd. in “In-State Tuition” 4)

However, according to Jennifer Robinson “supporters of these laws argue that the IIRIRA…do not prevent or prohibit a state from granting in-state tuition to undocumented students”(“In-State Tuition” 4). It is also stated in her article:
a plain reading of these statutes shows no prohibition of granting lower tuition rates based on a uniformly applied residency or other requirement. The use of the word ‘unless’ in section 505 suggests that states have the power to determine residency for undocumented immigrant students. In plain language, the statute simply conveys that a state cannot give additional consideration to an undocumented student that it would not give to a U.S. citizen student who is not a resident of that state. (qtd. in “In-State Tuition” 4) Their argument is more of a misinterpretation of the IIRIRA, than it is an actual argument.
According to the National Immigration Law Center, “federal law does not prohibit states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. Such a prohibition would have been simple to write, but Congress declined to do so”(“Basic Facts” 2). It’s not like they’re just going to hand out in-state tuition to these undocumented immigrants. They must meet certain requirements in order to qualify for in-state tuition. The law requires that the students have to attend a school in the state for at least three years, graduate from high school in the state, and sign an affidavit that they have either applied to legalize their status or will do so as soon as eligible. American students argue that it is unfair to them because they have to pay out-of-state tuition even though they are American citizens. However it is much easier for them to receive in-state tuition because all they have to do is live in the state where their intended college is for a year prior to admission. Undocumented immigrants have to sign an affidavit, giving up their identity as an undocumented immigrant, which could end in deportation.

These laws were not created to take away the rights of American students and citizens. According to the National Immigration Law Center, “These bills are intended to help children of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and work hard in school with the hope of going to college but then discover that they face insurmountable obstacles”(“Basic Facts” 1). There are many obstacles that undocumented students face, such as, schools denying them admission. Those that do get admitted have to pay out-of-state tuition. Out-of-state tuition is three or more times as much as in-state tuition. On top of that, these students are not eligible for federal financial aid, so most of them have to get a full time job during their college careers, making it harder for them to focus in school.

In conclusion, undocumented immigrants are here to stay. By granting them in-state tuition, we are giving them the opportunity to upgrade their education and their knowledge skills so that they can help us compete in the new flat world. On top of that, they will contribute to our economy, and create idea-generated jobs since our factory jobs are being outsourced. Some people will argue that it is against the law to grant them in-state tuition, but that is not true. As Friedman states in his book, “If the flat world is about connecting all the knowledge pools together, we want our knowledge pool to be the biggest”(376). In order to do that, we need make it possible for all of our population to join in, including undocumented immigrants.

Work Cited
Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
Robinson, Jennifer. “In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students in Utah.” Policy
Perspectives (2006). 18 Feb. 2007,0,w

Stewart, Erin and Bulkeley, Deborah. “Students fear repeal of the in-state tuition perk.”
Desert Morning News 29 Jan. 2007. 18 Feb. 2007.,1249,655192144,00.html
United States. National Immigration Law Center. Basic Facts about In-State Tuition for
Undocumented Immigrant Students. Apr. 2006. 18 Feb. 2007.

Wal-Mart Sample Essay

English 102

February 26, 2007

Wal-Mart and the To Be Flat West Valley

Raise a mental hand if you knew that FAO-Schwarz went bankrupt. It kind of tugs at one’s heart strings to hear this icon of toy stores couldn’t survive after more than 140-years of existence. Does anyone know why a toy giant like FAO had to file for bankruptcy? Well, a number of things, but mainly it was big-box retail stores such as Target, Toys R Us, and the biggest of them all Wal-Mart, a company that according to Thomas L. Friedman author of The World is Flat: A Brief History of The Twenty-First Century, is helping planet earth become “Planet Flat.” Here in Yakima a proposed 203,819 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter may be built in West Valley, on the southwest corner of Nob Hill Boulevard and South 64th Avenue to be exact. Not too far away from the Meadowbrook Mall, The Orchards Shopping Center [where Rosauers is] or Chalet Mall up a couple roads. If FAO-Schwarz can go bankrupt, then any of the stores in those areas can. A Wal-Mart in West Valley is not necessary because of the ever-growing population and its flourishing businesses in this community. When a Wal-Mart comes to a community it effects it greatly, and not always for the better.

In The World is Flat Friedman doesn’t necessarily give Wal-Mart a big pro v. con list of why it should or shouldn’t be in existence. He tells how it has helped shape the earth from round to flat however. The biggest way that Wal-Mart is flattening the earth is by improving supply-chaining. Supply chaining is basically a system, a very complex system which I can’t even fathom attempting to explain. Friedman however in the beginning of the supply-chaining section started the explanation:
Supply-chaining is a method for collaboration horizontally [or flat] – among suppliers, retailers, and customers – to create value. Supply-chaining is both enabled by the flattening of the world and a hugely important flattener itself…Wal-Mart today is the biggest retail company in the world, and it does not make a single thing. All it “makes” is a hyperefficient supply chain (152).
Wal-Mart does not have one big hub of a factory that is making or packaging stuff. It gets away with this by having trucks as their factory and, supply-chaining is cutting out the middle man.
Friedman explains Wal-Mart as having multiple identity disorder. It’s not just the company that has multiple identity disorder; he claims it’s also the individuals. Friedman tells us, “In the flat world, the tension among our identities as consumers, employees, citizens, taxpayers, and shareholders are going to come into sharper and sharper conflict” (249). I, as I’m sure many other West Valley residents, fall under consumer, citizens, taxpayer, and possible future employee. He describes the back and forth mental pull that we all feel towards Wal-Mart in the following way:
The Wal-Mart worker in us hates the limited benefits and low pay packages that Wal-Mart offers its starting employees. And the Wal-Mart citizen in us knows that because Wal-Mart, the biggest company in America, doesn’t cover all its employees with health care, some of them will just go to the emergency ward of the local hospital and the taxpayers will end up picking up the tab (251).
There is also the Wal-Mart shopper, who loves the low prices, no matter how they get that way.

Wal-Mart for all its flaws and arguable reputation, which I will get to later, does do some good for a community that it enters. One reason is that it saves customers money, in fact billions in dollars that may have been spent somewhere else or on something entirely different than retail purchases. According to a pro Wal-Mart website, “A 2005 Global Insight Study found that given the cumulative downward pressure on prices exerted by Wal-Mart between 1985 and 2004, the company last year saved US consumers $263 billion – or $2,239 per household.” This same website also states that, “Today, 100 million Americans shop at Wal-Mart each week. Thanks to Sam Walton’s [founder of Wal-Mart] quintessentially American vision, Wal-Mart is saving its US customers an estimated $16 billion a year, which they are free to save, invest, pay bills, or spend on something else.” Granted, one may argue that if you live in West Valley area you are not one that needs to shop at a Wal-Mart. Meaning, that if you live in West Valley or certain parts of West Valley you will most likely be stereotyped as being at least upper-middle class. However, the temptation to buy high quality products for so much less will appeal to anyone in any class range. High school graduates or community college students would be the people who would naturally work there. And with this proposed Wal-Mart being in a very close proximity to the West Valley High School and not to far from of a drive from Yakima Valley Community College, it makes way for many job opportunities.

A simple and true fact, Wal-Mart employs 1.2 million Americans by creating and filling 100,000 new positions this year; Wal-Mart is providing important and welcome employment opportunities. Where this proposed Wal-Mart would be built is at or less than five minutes away from West Valley High School. It will also be up the road form Yakima Valley Community College. Now, whether or not West Valley kids, in their BMW’s, will want to start working at Wal-Mart they won’t deny that they would like to make some cash. A new business in a community is always a good place to start. A Wal-Mart would get plenty of good business and people willing to work there if the proposed Supercenter is to be built. Besides employment opportunities Wal-Mart does assist people in getting above the poverty line. A pro Wal-Mart website supports this with the following:
When you create lots of entry-level opportunities, you are going to hire some people on public assistance. In this, Wal-Mart isn’t adding to the public burden but reducing is. For example, 7 percent of new Wal-Mart associates are enrolled in Medicaid before joining the company. After joining, the number drops to 5 percent. After two years, it falls to 3 percent (

There is a flip side to all these fan friendly numbers and reports, as there is to everything.
A Yakima Herald-Republic article written by Lia Steakley in 2005 covered a public hearing on the proposed Wal-Mart. The article states, “West Valley neighbors’ feelings about the proposed Wal-Mart are simple: They don’t want it.” Steve Cooper, a 10-year West Valley resident was at that hearing and he had this to say, “We don’t want you out there. This is a beautiful community here and I want it to stay that way. People are getting sick and tired of it. Take your doggone store and go.” I don’t want that store here either.

As stated previously West Valley is an ever growing community both in population and businesses. When a Wal-Mart marches into a town it hurts other businesses. Kenneth Stone gives us the following on its impact to a community:
Food stores in Mississippi lost 17 percent of their sales by the fifth year after a Wal-Mart Supercenter had come into their county, and retail stores lost 9 percent of their sales…Over the course of [a few years after Wal-Mart entered a community], retailers’ sales of apparel dropped 28 percent on average, hardware sales fell by 20 percent, and sales of specialty stores fell by 17 percent.

In West Valley we have many of those businesses in proximity, that already offer what a Wal-Mart can, what if they fall to the Wal-Mart bully? Our main retailer in the area is Shopko, which basically gives us what a Wal-Mart can, clothes, food, toys, entertainment, home and garden, etc. Rosaures, Safeway, and Wray’s Thriftway which has been locally owned for decades, provides the people in West Valley the groceries we need. With Rosaures and Safeway there is a sense of comfort because it’s northwest based and doesn’t frown at unions. Our hardware store, along with home and garden, is called Steins, which is a part of the Ace franchise. The Meadowbrook Mall, along with Wray’s and Steins, has a video rental store as well as specialty shops. Anyone of those may lose valuable, and loyal, business from West Valley residents. A Central Washington University Wal-Mart case study contends, “They have also voiced concerns that small businesses won’t be able to compete and are especially concerned that ‘Wal-Mart will harm already struggling local businesses.’” For local businesses to keep its customers they almost have to copy Wal-Mart’s style of business, even if they know they don’t have the power to do so. You lose your sales, you lose your business, thus losing your employees, and where do you think half of those employees will end up?

Yes, when a Wal-Mart comes to town it is creating new employment opportunities and helping with the family income. However, according to an article by Jim Hightower posted on an anti Wal-Mart digest site, points out, “By crushing local business, this giant eliminates three decent jobs for every two Wal-Mart jobs that it creates and a store full of part-time, poorly paid employees hardly builds the family wealth necessary to sustain a community’s middle-class living standard.” Once hired it is difficult to climb up the Wal-Mart ladder to even get to full-time status, because a full time employee would have to be given more benefits. Hightower also pointed out that, “The average employee makes only $15,000 a year full-time work. Most are denied even this poverty level income, for they’re held to part-time work. While the company brags that 70 percent of its workers are full-time, at Wal-Mart ‘full time’ is [at most] 34 hours a week, meaning they gross less than $11,000 a year.” The same CWU case study reports that, “according to a recent Harvard Business School Study, Wal-Mart spends $2,100 less per employee on healthcare than average U.S. companies.”

Labor law violations also provide an insight on how things are run at Wal-Mart stores. According to an article by Denis Collins, “An investigation by the state of Washington in 2000 found that Wal-Mart employees were not allowed to file for accident reports or Workers Compensation claims.” It’s almost like being in with the Mob; if you’re found to have said anything bad about them they will not be hesitant to perform illegal retaliation. This proposed Wal-Mart is going to be close to West Valley High School, shouldn’t be much concern except that according to the previous article, “Child Labor Internal audit of 128 stores during one week in July found 1,371 instances of minors working too late, during school hours, or too many hours in a day.” This isn’t a sweatshop case; this is in our own country. Yes, high school kids wouldn’t mind the chance at making some cash, but if I was a parent I would rethink letting my child work there.

Are low prices really worth the risk of damaging a community, “a beautiful community,” fellow West Valley resident Steve Cooper claims? What if Wray’s becomes our own FAO-Schwarz? Yakima already has one Wal-Mart; it doesn’t need two, especially in West Valley. West Valley is obviously doing well if fellow citizens are able to have a golf course as their front yard on Occidental Road. And whether Wal-Mart is helping flattening the world for the better is arguable, but if a town has one Wal-Mart it’s already flat enough. Thus West Valley is flat. With the sight of Wal-Mart trucks barreling down Nob Hill Boulevard, it doesn’t need to disappear.

Housing Nickel and Dimed Sample Essay

English 102
January 25, 2007
Housing for the Minimum Wage Worker

How am I going to afford a place to live when I only earn minimum wage? This is the question that many people ask themselves everyday in Yakima. Housing in Yakima can be difficult to afford for anyone regardless of income. For someone who is working for minimum wage this is even more of a challenge. The high cost of housing in Yakima makes it hard for someone to find a quality place to live while earning minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Washington State is $7.93/hour, which is approximately $1,374 per month before taxes for a person working full time. Of that amount no more than 30% or $412 should be used to pay for housing. The availability of housing for a person living in Yakima while earning minimum wage can be difficult, but not impossible to find because of the amount of housing assistance available, wide variety of housing options and the ability to share housing costs with friends or family members.

It is possible to find housing in Yakima while living on minimum because of the numerous types of assistance available to low income families, people just need to know where to look. “Is there help for the hardworking poor? Yes, but it takes a determined and not too terribly poor person to find it,” (101) points out Ehrenreich in her book Nickel & Dimed. To qualify for assistance a person would have to be considered low income, which is determined using the MFI or median family income. According to HUD or Department of Housing and Urban Development the median family income for Yakima County in 2006 was $46,300/year and a single person would be considered low income if they made $30,300/year or a family of four would be low income at $39,900. If they are considered low income they would qualify for low income housing through the Housing Authority of the City of Yakima or rent & utility bill assistance with Opportunities Industrialization Center or OIC of Washington. There is different housing options available based on the level of a persons income.

When someone is determined to be low or very low income they qualify for housing that they can afford. There are four apartment complexes available for individuals or families in Yakima and Selah. Information on them can be found on the Multifamily Affordable Properties website The Park Village and Selah Park apartment complexes is Selah offer one to three bedroom apartments for rent costing up to $484/month. Tenants that qualify can receive a rent subsidy that is based on 30% of their income. In Yakima, the Cascade-Senator and Savoy apartments are available to individuals and families that are consider very low income. These complexes offer studio apartments for up to $350/month, most are furnished and some include a private bathroom. Not all people will meet the income requirements needed to live in these complexes.

Even without assistance there is a wide variety of locations and types of housing available that may help in the search for affordable quality housing. There is currently a one bedroom apartment located at 807 S. 13th Ave for $350 per month. It does have a $20 non-refundable application fee and a deposit of $300. The apartment is inside a remodeled home that has been converted into smaller one bedroom apartments. There is also a one bedroom apartment on N. 15th Avenue available for $425/month with a $300 deposit and $20 non-refundable application fee. If someone has a child and needs more than one bedroom there is a two bedroom apartment on N. 66th Avenue for $475/month with a $300 deposit and $20 non-refundable application fee. In apartments, the utilities are paid by the landlord and can cost from $100-200 per month. Someone can also rent a room at various hotels around town for the week or month, but this should only be a last resort because of the higher total cost per month. Some of those are the Days Inn for $2100/month or the Sun Country Inn for $1800/month; both of these hotels are located on north 1st street. Ehrenreich describes this “On Cape Cod, too, rising rents for apartments and houses are driving the working class into motels, where a room might go for$880 a month in winter but climbs to $1,440 a month in the tourist season.” (55) The ability to live with friends or family can increase the chances of finding affordable quality housing in Yakima.

Living with a roommate or having a family with two incomes allows people to have greater access to quality housing and can reduce the burden on each person in the home. The location of an apartment or house can be in a safer and more desirable neighborhood such as listing on Yakima-Homes.Com, it has a home on S. 14th Avenue that has two bedrooms and one bathroom for $575/month and has a washer/dryer hookup. There is also a complex in Selah that can be found on the Home Source of Yakima website, it has a two bedroom, one bath apartment for $650/month with the utilities paid by the landlord. When the utilities are paid by the landlord it decreases the stress involved when it comes time to pay the bills.

While there are many options available, there are also many challenges that face someone looking for a place to live. The initial costs for moving in can be staggering. Most places have a $15-40 non-refundable application fee; deposits range anywhere from $250-400 and some may even require the first and last months rent. This would be a total of approximately $1000-1500 in initial costs. “And where am I supposed to get a month’s rent and a month’s deposit for an apartment?”(27), wondered Gail when she talked to Ehrenreich about her housing situation in Nickel & Dimed. The landlords at apartment complexes usually cover the cost of utilities but not in duplexes or houses. This cost can increase in the winter when heating costs increase significantly when they have to pay extra for gas or oil to heat their homes.

The motels around town that do rent by the week or month may cost less than traditional housing, but are usually not always located in the best neighborhoods in town. The Shady Lane Motel in Union Gap has a weekly rate of $135 or monthly for $600 which must be paid in advance, there is also a $50 damage deposit. This is shown in Nickel & Dimed when Ehrenreich wrote “If you can’t put up two months’ rent you need to secure an apartment, you end up paying through the nose for a room by the week.”(27) While cheaper than traditional hotels, the residents are sacrificing some quality and relative safety issues that they have to be concerned with.

Overall it can be a very difficult task to find a place to live while working for minimum wage. The more informed a person is about the housing market, the more likely they are to find a place they can afford. The housing situation can be overwhelming if they don’t know how to look and not seek help from local agencies, friends or family members. The more people involved, the easier it will be to find affordable quality housing in Yakima.

Work Cited

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001

Home Source of Yakima, Home Source of Yakima,

Multifamily Affordable Properties, Apartment Finder,

United States. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD Income Limits. FY 2006 Income Limits.


807 S. 13th Ave, Yakima
1 Bedroom, 1 Bath, $350/month, $300 deposit, $20 non-refundable application fee

9 N. 15th Ave, Yakima
1 Bedroom, 1 Bath, $425/month, $300 deposit, $20 non-refundable application fee

707 S. 14th Ave, Yakima
2 Bedroom, 1 Bath, $575/month, $400 deposit, $20 non-refundable application fee

308 Valley View, Selah
2 Bedroom, 1 Bath, $650/month, $350 deposit, $40 non-refundable application

Sample Essay Nickel and Dimed, Rent

Mr. Peters
English 102
25 January 2007

Yakima for Rent

Is housing available for the workers earning minimum wage in Yakima? This is what I wanted to know. After figuring how much minimum wage one person would earn for one month, I searched for housing around the city that was affordable and livable. What I have found is very interesting. Although people earning minimum wage in Yakima may not have much money, affordable, livable housing is available.

In the State of Washington, the minimum wage is $7.93 per hour
(U.S. Department of Labor: Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division 1). Multiply this by 40 hours per week, as someone would work full time. This equals $317.20. There are 4.29 weeks in a 30 day month (30/7). So $317.20 times 4.29 ($1360.79) is the gross monthly wage of a full-time minimum wage worker. According to Barbara Ehrenreich, rents less than 30% of one’s income are considered “affordable,” (170). Take $1,360.79 and multiply by .3 and you have your 30% pay allocated for rent which is $408.24, which rounds to $400.
Minimum Wage
Hours Per
Weeks Per month

Gross Monthly Wage
30% of monthly wage
$7.93/ Hour

I decided to invest some time in searching for motels that might be a possible place to live for a minimum-wage worker. Cedar Suites cost over $300/week, which is way out of the question for this project (Cedar Suites 1). Most motels charge this or a little less, but still, motels charge way over the 30% of monthly minimum wage. Yakima Inn charges $31/night, which comes to just over $200/week, or $800/month. The Local Motel 6 charges $38.99/night, or over $1,100/month. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich found this to be true also, paying $245-$295 for a motel room (150-151). So, motels would not be a possible place to live for minimum-wage earners. I still had to find livable, affordable housing in Yakima.

Yakima has a few houses or apartments available for $400 per month or less. I initially found six in the Yakima area that were listed at $400 or less. has a good listing of houses/apartments available for renting under $400. After further research, I came to the conclusion that one in Selah didn’t exist; there was no such address on that certain road. Then at 1607 McKinley Avenue in Yakima, I discovered that they were asking $350 a month, not for a house or apartment unit, but for an 1800 square-foot shop/barn. Obviously, with no bedrooms or bathrooms, this was not what I was looking for. All others were asking $350 to $400 for rentals.

On S. 9th Avenue, I found #207 and #202. The rental at #207 was in an old apartment complex, but it didn’t seem to be very dirty but actually livable, and affordable at $395/month. Number 202 was an even older apartment, and seemed very small and dirty, but still a possible place for someone to live, costing $350. After these, I found a slightly less appealing abode.
The “Cypress Manor,” as it was called, at 513 N. 2nd Street, was an affordable place to live. It was a two-story apartment building with at most ten to fifteen units. If someone were willing to live in the midst of children’s toys strewn about the front yard, then they could handle living here. This place was not the best place to live, but it was affordable, and to someone earning minimum wage, maybe even an acceptable place to reside. Living here would definitely take some getting used to, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and someone earning minimum wage would be desperate to find an affordable place to live. At $375/month, they could live at the Cypress Manor.

I found a good house for rent at 807 S. 13th Ave. This house was affordable at a surprising $350 per month. This house was a stone’s throw from YVCC, which is in a good location near local businesses. It was very large, for this price range and could house a small family. This house would be one of the better homes in Yakima. It was a very acceptable place to live in my book for someone living on minimum wage.

In my findings, houses were available to minimum-wage workers. But some may argue that it is just not possible to live and rent a house on minimum wage. They say that minimum-wage workers do not make enough money, and that they require a living wage to survive. But Washington State has the highest minimum wage of any state
(U.S. Department of Labor: Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division 1). This, coupled with the low cost of living we currently experience in Yakima should make this very possible for a single person with no children. Also, they say that not enough homes are available for rent, arguing that there are 37 available houses for 100 low income families (Ehrenreich 140). I have found plenty of available places to live that are affordable for the minimum-wage worker. People argue that yes, some houses are up for rent, but they are not livable. In Yakima, my findings were that the houses were livable, and clean enough, with some exceptions. Some may argue that houses may be available and livable, but too small for a family, which is just not the case. I found houses/apartments big enough for a small family. I can’t see how one-fifth of the homeless have full-time or part-time jobs, considering that housing is available for the minimum wage workers (Ehrenreich 26).

Low wage workers, even minimum-wage workers, can rent affordable housing for themselves in Yakima. Houses are cheap enough to rent, and they are available after a little searching. Housing is not only available, but livable for minimum-wage earners. The cost of living in the Yakima Valley is bearable. Yes, it is possible to live on minimum wage and find a place to live.

Works Cited
Cedar Suites. 3 August 2006. Cedar Suites at Yakima Convention Center. 21 January 2007. <>.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Owl Books Henry Holt and Company, 2001.
U.S. Department of Labor: Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division. December 2006. U.S. Department of Labor. 21 January 2007.
<>. January 2007. 21 January 2007. .

Sample Essay for Nickel and Dimed

English 102

January 28, 2007

The Downward Spiral of Poverty

Have you ever wondered why so many people have to struggle just to make ends meet? Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich, attempted to give the American public a window into the life of our society’s lower class. It gave a viewpoint that included both the mindset of the workers and an educated analysis of their situation as a whole. Although many working poor believe that they are responsible for their situations, there are several factors outside of their control, such as the hidden costs of financial difficulties, competition over limited resources, and a lack of education that all contribute to their continuing economic difficulties.

There are many costs of being poor that are often unseen by the higher classes. Unlike Ehrenreich in her poverty experiment, most people who actually live in poverty do not have start-up money that allows them to circumvent these hidden costs. Not having the money to make a deposit for an apartment can force them to live in hotels with weekly rates. These hotels are almost always significantly more expensive over time, but because they do not require a large deposit they are one of the few choices available. Once she found lodgings in Minnesota, Ehrenreich paid $255 per week to stay at an inn (151) . Not having the money to buy in bulk also increases costs, especially the costs of food. In fact, many poor don’t have the choice of cooking their own food because they can’t afford to buy the ingredients, utensils, and appliances necessary to do so. Another hidden cost of being poor is a lack of mobility. The middle and upper classes take having their own vehicle to drive for granted. The workers of the lower class don’t always have that luxury. Cars are expensive to buy and operate, and maintenance costs can be extreme. The mobility needed to get to and from jobs can limit a worker’s options. Where public transportation exists it is often inadequate. Bus routes don’t go everywhere, and their schedules can make it even more difficult to get to a specific place on time. Timing can be everything when so many people want the same jobs or living spaces.

The fact that there are so many low-wage workers means they are forced to compete with one another. Rents increase because the supply is smaller than the demand. Housing is usually too expensive for the poor because the rich can afford to pay more. “When the rich and the poor compete for housing on the open market, the poor don’t stand a chance” (Ehrenreich 199) . In urban areas space is almost always limited, and the rich are able to afford higher rents because they have higher wages. Employers don’t have to offer the working poor higher wages because regardless of how little they pay, there will be people who are desperate enough to work for it. Even when work isn’t properly compensated by pay, jobs are filled. There are an estimated
11 million illegal workers in the United States, many of whom are willing to work for less than the national minimum wage of $5.15 an hour (Illegal
Workers) .

Some argue that the working poor actually have almost complete control over whether or not they remain impoverished.
Poverty is more than a lack of income. It is also the consequence of specific behaviors and decisions. The 2001 Census data clearly show that dropping out of high school, staying single, having children without a spouse, working only part time or not working at all substantially increase the chances of long-term poverty. Certain behaviors are a recipe for success. Among those who finish high school, get married, have children only within a marriage and go to work, the odds of long-term poverty are virtually nil. (Bailey) However, it is important to remember that these factors that are likely to lead to poverty are not always strictly choices. Jobs are not always available, and many people have children by accident. It is very rare for someone to have such complete control over every portion of their life.

Another factor that not only makes it more difficult for the working poor to earn more money, but also contributes to their misunderstanding of the underlying cause, is a lack of education. Poverty can force teenagers to drop out of school in order to work so they can support their families.

Non-fluent English speakers attempting to go through the public school system in the United States face the challenge of attempting to learn in a foreign language. Even assuming that students from low-income families are able to graduate from high school, higher education poses additional problems. The cost alone can deter many people from going to college. In
2006-07 the estimated average annual tuition for a two-year public college was $2,272 (Cost of College) . To be considered below the poverty line in 2007, an individual living alone must make less than $10,210 per year (2007 Federal Poverty Guidelines) . That means the average person living below the poverty line and attending a two-year college would be paying over 20% of their annual income to do so. For those who can afford it financially, the addition of schoolwork and the necessity of attending classes at certain times can make scheduling difficult. In the case of workers whose shifts vary each day, conflicts between work and college are common. A lack of education among the working poor prevents them from acquiring higher-paying jobs and limits their understanding of the underlying causes of their economic situation.

While it’s true that people’s actions can have a major impact on their lives, there are situations in poverty that create such a downward spiral that they are almost impossible to escape from. Although the working poor of the United States are more likely to blame their situations on their own personal shortcomings rather than outside influences, it is likely that the latter is far more influential in certain areas. With more emphasis placed on educating the poor, and especially on preventing teens from dropping out of school, it would be possible to give them a chance to finally break the cycle and rise out of the lower class.

Works Cited
2007 Federal Poverty Guidelines. 24 Jan. 2007. United States Department of Health and Human Services. 26 Jan. 2007.
Bailey, Blake. How Not to Be Poor. 15 Jan. 2003. National Center for Policy Analysis. 25 Jan. 2007. <>
Cost of College. CollegeBoard. 25 Jan. 2007.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York, NY: Owl Books, 2001.
Illegal Workers. 8 Mar. 2006. Common Dreams. 22 Jan. 2007.