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Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:57 am
From California to Florida, tons of crops are being wasted this season because farmers can't find enough workers to harvest them. Farmers across the nation have been hiring mostly illegal immigrants during the harvest season. As the debate on illegal immigration is heating up and government is tightening rules, it is more difficult to find illegal immigrants. In any situation, you can find winners and losers. In this case, both the farmers and illegal immigrants appear to be the losers.
Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:43 am
I have worked as an apple picker.The pay was by the bushel, if you worked hard, you could do quite well. There were no Mexicans in the orchard; this was before the influx of Hispanics. The trouble is, native-born Americans aren't willing to work hard. We want good food, but aren't willing to labor for it. This year, I've seen tons of apricots, plums, pears and apples just rotting on the ground in people's yards, because the owners of the trees didn't want to expend the energy to pick them. One problem with "illegal" labor is that growers don't pay well, and if a worker protests, the grower can threaten to call "La Migra." Legal or not, that is exploitative, and wrong. How about sending welfare recipients to harvest?
Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:54 am
Terry, I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for dumb farmers who overplant their fields and don't want to pay good help to come in and harvest their crops.
If you can't find someone to work the field, raise your pay. It's that's simple. If local people don't want the job, people will move in permanently and take it. That's how capitalism and free markets and all that crap the conservatives want to tell you they believe in are actually supposed to work in theory. Capitalism is not bringing in temporary guest workers from the south for two weeks and then having them take their lousy pay to another economy. That creates more problems than it fixes, so I'm sorry, Farmer John, you're going to have to pay market value for your labor, like every single business in the goshdarned country should. That's reality and I'm not going to go bending our laws or the rules of our economic system to change it.
So the "losers" deserve to lose, period, end of sentence.
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:05 pm
jchagan wrote:So the "losers" deserve to lose, period, end of sentence.
You may change your mind when the California lettuce hits $5 per head and Florida orange hits $8 per pound. I am not in favor of illegal immigration, but they do make some contributions that can't be ignored.
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:07 pm
No, Terry, if that's the price of food, then so be it. I think those prices are flaming hyperbole that doesn't take a heck of a lot of factors into account, but that's the economic system we live in.
Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:46 pm
jchagan wrote:No, Terry, if that's the price of food, then so be it. I think those prices are flaming hyperbole that doesn't take a heck of a lot of factors into account, but that's the economic system we live in.
The solution is not to just tough it out or to accept illegal imigration as a part of life. The solution is to change the imigration laws so that these farms can get worked on. The price will still go up a little bit because the farmers will be forced to pay their employees more, but there won't be fruit rotting on the vines either.