After all the lawsuits, American growers need immigrant labor

05/07/2013 11:37:00 AM
Tom Karst

 Farmers, restaurants, landscapers, chicken farms, food processors, etc are not getting rich. We are no more cruel or abusive or exploitive than anyone else. But we are catering to a public that wants their radishes for $.69/lb, canned peas for $.59 a pound, sandwiches for $6, and lawns mowed for $15/wk. If you want my workers to have hourly breaks, to leave early pick up the kid from school, to come in late to take Granny to the doctor, to take Friday off for the family reunion, to forget where he left the shears, to hold up another worker because he doesn't know how to change the line in the weed-whacker after all, to train him how to mix 2-cycle oil and gas, and to replace the shrub he thought looked better pruned to death, then I'll be happy to change my working conditions. But until you, the public, are willing to subsidize that, I'll hire an immigrant.

 

Personally, I don’t think farm labor is a profession that many Americans aspire to do. God bless those Americans who do embrace it; as Jesus might have said,”suffer the American workers and forbid them not.”

Still, after all the lawsuits are done, the legal fees paid and proper encouragement is given to U.S. workers, American fruit and vegetable growers are still going to need immigrant labor. Lawmakers must not lose sight of that fact, and fashion an easier and responsible way for growers to legally access immigrant workers.


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