Sunday, April 25, 2010

Illegal Problem Solving

Dear Reader,

I'm sure that everyone has seen in the news that Arizona has passed a law that allows the police to enforce Immigration laws. While I understand the state position, why is it focusing on punishing the individual and not the companies that are encouraging them to come to this country in the first place?

Have you ever wondered how states like Nebraska, South Carolina and Minnesota end up having huge illegal immigration populations? I know that word of mouth can be a powerful marketing tool, but come on. Companies like Smithfield, ConAgra, IBP & Amour have been recruiting immigrate labor for years. ConAgra and IBP have cut the middle man and now have recruiting stations in Mexico City and advertise available meat packing jobs in America on the local radio. IBP even bussed from Mexico itself.

Let's face it. These are jobs that most Americans don't want, mainly because they pay wages that most Americans consider too low for the risk and work involved. $9.25 per hour might be enough for your average American to work at WalMart or McDonalds but not to break your back all day cutting up dead animals. How about $5.50 per hour to bend down and pick strawberries or cucumbers?

Be honest, do you know anyone that works in either meat packing or migrated agriculture? Have you ever considered working in the fields to pay the bills?

The point is that we need people that will do this work. We either have to force the companies to pay a living wage or find a ways for the companies to have legal access to a work force that will work for what they are willing to pay. Don't forget that the big companies have reduced their cost of labor to get these products to the lowest cost possible. If the strawberry picker got paid $25 dollars an hours I don't expect most of us would be able to afford to buy them.

So why is it that the recent push to reform the immigration legislation is stalled in congress and going no where fast? The current bill is calling for strengthening the borders and creating a system to allow those in the country illegally to pay a fine, learn English, and "go to the back of the line" for the opportunity to become a citizen. It has provisions for a guest worker program that will provide the labor big agro needs with a citizenship possible for those that work within the system.

If I were a cynic I would say that the issue is going nowhere because some politicians get more out of the issue if they don't fix it. Big Agro doesn't need the problem to be solved because to them the status quo is working just fine. The anti-immigration groups are more concerned about arresting illegals then fixing the problem.

So check my facts and ask yourself, are you for a fix or a fight?

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