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"Meet powerhouse artist/activist Favianna Rodriguez — a leading voice in the movement of artists raising awareness about U.S. ...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Unpredictable Outcomes" on Immigration

The New York Times ran a series of articles on immigration, August 18, 2011

I collected some humanitarian comments from the article that I wanted to highlight.

"...immigrants don’t just fill jobs; they also buy stuff with the money they earn, spurring demand and creating jobs in other parts of the economy." -Michael J. Roberts

"While farms dot the country, many of them are relatively small and exist in small, farming communities -- they're not easily accessible by the general population, which lives in cities and suburbs. Therefore, the legal labor pool they have to choose from is limited to local teens who are willing to work long, hard hours for relatively little pay. Working in the fields is backbreaking work, which is why many of today's farmers do so to continue a family tradition -- it's rare that someone enters the industry as an outsider.

Hiring illegal workers is a hot-button issue, but it's not a black-and-white one for an industry that relies on it, not just for cheap labor, but for nearly all labor. Congress can require verification, but without working through the ramifications of that decision (other than a feather for the cap of Republicans in the next election cycle), Congress is setting farmers up for failure. Farmers cannot replace illegal workers without an available legal workforce..."

-Lindsay H., Cincinnati, OH

"If we are that dependent upon the labor of immigrants (and I suspect we are), we should formalize the terms of our mutual interests by expanding the numbers of those allowed into the country to work legally..."

"Perhaps we can set up some kind of regional clearing houses through which farmers can submit their anticipated labor needs for the season, which the government will assist in providing vetted immigrant labor from among those registering with it overseas as available for such placement.

Again, though, we have no business exploiting foreign labor. If someone is good enough to build America, he is good enough to make his permanent home here and to become one of us."

-Kurt, NY

"Conditions in the fields have changed little since the time of "Grapes of Wrath". Ten years ago most of the workers went back to Mexico or even Guatamala at the end of the harvest. Now with a tighter border they usually stay. Maybe some of the Border Patrol Officers should be let go and sent to do farm work." -Vernon Huffer, Portland, OR