Green Grow the Rushes
The title may refer to the poem,
"Green Grow The Rashes," by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). A historically-unconfirmed
story says that immigrants to the New World from the British
Isles were especially fond of the song, and to the Spanish born
population the Anglo-Americans who sang this work song became
known as "greengrows" (later shortened to "gringos").
"surplus, cheaper hands"
According to Stipe, migrant day-workers.
"Pay for your freedom, find another
This refers to illegal immigrants
paying for passage into US; the "other gate" is presumably
along the guarded US/Mexican border. [Ron
"The grasses that hide the greenback"
A "greenback" is a U.S.
dollar. [Ron Henry] * Perhaps also a play on "wetback", a
derogatory term for Mexicans who enter the U.S. illegally. [Chris Piuma]
"The amber waves of gain"
A play on the "amber waves
of grain" from "America the Beautiful". [Ron Henry]