Rage Against The Machine – Without A Face

A 1996 update to Woody Guthrie’s song, Deportee, about illegal immigrants to the USA.

To Rage Against The Machine, these undocumented people don’t just cross borders but graves to make new lives for themselves. Then poorly treated, they give up their souls. Yet, without a face, their plight can go unrecognized.

Government permission with a “visa” is required to legally enter the USA. Visas come with expiry dates, meaning those that came legally may remain illegally.

Estimates for how many illegal immigrants there are range from 7-30 million, an imprecision that is not illuminating. Most are from Mexico.



Woody Guthrie – Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)

A California plane crash in 1948 killed a number of migrant workers seeking to return to Mexico after a term of seasonal labour. Guthrie felt that their tragic deaths should have been better honoured, such as by some media reports that failed to identify the victims by name. The implication is that Mexicans were not considered equal to other Americans. A memorial was finally erected in tribute, in 2013.

Apparently, Woody only spoke the words, and music was added much later by others. Here is Woody’s son, Arlo, singing the song for us: