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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Legal workers are available for price

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Now the farmers in California are putting the pressure on Washington saying that many of their produce fields will rot this year because of crackdowns on illegal immigration. The farmers paint a drastic portrait of consumers spending more money for fruits and produce that is traditionally farmed by immigrant workers.

There is a legal, temporary worker program that allows many of these workers to man the fields during harvest. But the process often takes too long to complete and the fields need attention immediately. Thus, the ugly picture that may be just around the corner.

The farmers complain that the work is hard, starts just before daybreak and ends when the sun sets. And they are unable to hire enough workers to pick the fruit and produce.

These farmers and the entire remainder of American society needs to fully understand what is truly behind this shortage of available workers. Because so many Mexican immigrants come here illegally each day, the resources of the government are spent. It takes too much time to certify the legal temporary workers because so much time is consumed addressing the explosion of illegal immigrants. If the farmers would be part of the solution instead of part of the problem, their issues would eventually be resolved.

If the farmers are forced to pay a higher wage to address more potential legal workers, then fruit and produce prices will increase at the grocery store. But I suspect most Americans are willing to pay that extra expense to get control of the immigration problem in this country.

If it takes higher produce prices to decrease health care expenses for illegal immigrants, then bring on the higher produce prices. If it takes higher wages to attract more workers, then most of us are willing to pay more for farm products to help save billions in educating the children of illegal immigrants. The list goes on and on.

In my own way I can share the frustration of a California farmer unable to harvest his crop. But maybe it takes our help and not some government program to finally get the upper hand on illegal immigration.

I frankly don't buy the argument that American workers will not take these tough harvest jobs. I think our government - through countless assistance programs - has made many of our population lazy. Why work for minimum wage when your government will give you more than that not to work? So we either reduce the welfare programs that breed this attitude or we offer jobs that actually pay a living wage for the effort. Either way, the American public would benefit in the long run.

We are guilty of creating a system of government that not only takes care of our needy but also makes it sufficiently lucrative that back-breaking work is unacceptable. And only we can change that.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen