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om DeLay God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress Lou Dubose & an Reid Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other Asian countries. The arm’slength arrangement meant the recruiters’ methods could not be directly connected to corporations chartered in the United States. Typically, the recruits were obligated to pay $5,000 to $7,000 for the privilege of signing one-year labor contracts that enabled them to work and receive housing and health care benefits in the U.S. In the places they came from, $5,000 to $7,000 was a fortune. Large families and communities of peasants raised the money for some of these young workers, whose riches earned in America were supposed to help feed and clothe them. But many recruits could never raise that kind of money. Some were steered to loan sharks in the Asian countries who had working arrangements with the recruitment agencies; more signed agreements in which they would see none of their wages until the “recruitment fees” were paid back. They were indentured workers, at best. Many of these people had not seen any of the world beyond their villages. Several Bangladeshi men, hired to work in security, were told and believed they could ride the train from Saipan to Los Angeles. Chinese workers who became pregnant were forced to return to China to have an abortion or else have it performed at a clinic on Saipan. Most of the immigrant workers were women, many of them mothers of small children. One could spot their arrivals in Saipan. They came off the plane and were hustled through immigration and aboard buses, their faces staring out in bewilderment and apprehension as the drivers sped through the winding back streets of the capital city. White beaches, emerald water, and resort hotels frequented by Korean and Japanese tourists were not the Saipan they saw. Their new homes were security-fenced compounds set far back in the jungle. With maybe a sheet thrown over a cord for privacy, the women slept on cots, as many as ten jammed in one small room. They had a dripping showerhead with no privacy or hot water, and a single toilet they lined up to share. Rats and cockroaches roamed freely. On the one day each week they were allowed to leave the compound, they were let out through a gate in a security fence by an armed guard. They had an early curfew, and knew better than to miss it. There were about thirty factories. The young women worked upwards of seventy hours a week with no overtime pay, sometimes around the clock for two or three days to meet impossible quotas. They were paid $3.05 an hour to keep the sewing machines humming \(the federal minimum wage was then $5.15 an sounded like an extravagant wage to poor girls in the backwaters of Asia, but they quickly fourid out they had no chance of coming out ahead; the employers billed them for their lodging and food, on top of withholding for the thousands of dollars many still owed on their contracts. Squares of raw fabric were piled up around their machines as high as they could reach; a glaring electronic production counter nagged them to work harder, longer, faster. The air was filled with dust and lint. Workers were not afforded the low-cost filter masks commonly worn by people with respiratory difficulties; for relief they wore rags over their noses and mouths like the bandanas of Old West desperadoes. If they fell asleep and ran a needle through a finger, there was no first aid station; all they got was a rebuke from a shouting supervisor who called them stupid. And those were the lucky ones. On arrival in Saipan some workers found that their contracts were worthless. They were told their employer had gone 9/10/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9