Biotech and immigration topics generate more e-mail responses to commentaries than any other topics.
The last one on the on the Mexico-U.S. border wall elicited a wide range of e-mails.
The following are excerpts from many. They came mostly from California; others from Texas, Illinois and Georgia. These e-mails are mostly simplistic solutions to a very complex problem. They're emotional and from a narrow perspective. I also believe each can be effectively challenged. Several are as ludicrous as the border wall.
I could not help but wonder how these opinions were formed. One conclusion must have been derived partly from newspapers and television sound bites. That is unfortunate.
What is missing is compassion for fellow human beings. Most who cross the border do it to survive. I also believe they take jobs American will not do. I do not think it is an issue of wages. Farmers or any employer must pay workers minimum wage or more to people they hire. The people elected by the writers of the e-mails below set the minimum wage. Farmers or any employer cannot ask a prospective employee if he/she is an American citizen.
I am now going down a road that will unquestionably get me branded as something less than a scumbag. Let's say wages are raised to $15, $20, $30 or $50 per hour to attract American workers to replace minimum wage illegals in agriculture, construction and the service industries. One question: Could Americans afford to buy the food those workers harvested or the homes they built?
Americans must take responsibility for the immigration morass. We want the good life and are willing to pay the cheapest price we can. Who is making it cheap? Not people earning $40 per hour harvesting lettuce, pouring concrete, framing homes, serving us food from a fast service drive up window.
I am not saying the system we have is right, but it is the system we Americans created.
Read on and see what others have to say about immigration.
From Robin Hvidston:
“I read the article on the Internet, ‘Labor crisis of perfect storm proportions brewing.’ Why is there such a farm labor shortage? Because the industry is about greed. Instead of providing appropriate wages the industry seeks to import an endless stream of a virtual slave class, one they can abuse, underpay and overwork.But now that these “slave”-like workers can leave the fields to take factory type jobs - since immigration laws are not being enforced - they disappear into the cities for jobs.
Why can't the farm industry recruit from among the millions and millions of unemployed American citizens? Oh, because the farm industry cannot abuse and underpay an American citizen the way it can abuse an illegal alien.The outrage here is that the illegal alien farm workers have children and family members that the taxpayer must take care of. The taxpayer is forced to subsidize the farm slave labor! The taxpayer must care for the children of the slave-like farm worker — the health care, etcetera, so that growers can enjoy bigger profits.
The article states: “There is no second generation of farm workers,” said Mason, explaining that children of illegal immigrants born in the United States are not becoming farm workers. And neither are the children who cross the border with their farm worker parents.”
The corporate grower industry should clean up its work standards. They should recruit from among the millions of unemployed American citizens — they could do so if they paid them the right amount and treated them fairly. The corporate grower industry needs to stop viewing its goal as finding a slave class to do its work.
From June Venable:
Has anyone in Washington thought of the following? Start a program whereby those wanting to come to this country to work would apply and be accepted on the following conditions: speak English, pass a medical and criminal background check, come alone (no family) and come on a temporary basis.
They must also sign a document stating they would only work in the agricultural business. Those hiring them would be responsible for their medical needs - not the taxpayer.
They would pay for their own needs before sending remittances home and again expecting the American taxpayer to foot their bills. If they wanted to come badly enough, they would adhere to these stipulations.
This would not be a government-sponsored program. That would really mess it up. This would be run by an independent council of businessmen who would also be required to keep records and report earnings to the IRS.
Another council would oversee this to avoid any bribery, graft and corruption. Surely, we can find some honest people in this country who would see that this was done on an honest and legal basis.
Then, begin deportation of all illegals. They have broken the law and do not deserve any consideration. We know the president overlooks their crimes and is eager to make them citizens, but are they the kind of people we want in this country?
I think the Nov. 7 election told the president that we do not agree with this immigration policy. And we aren't fooled with the fence signing.
He will never allocate money for it. By 2008, we'll have 20 million more illegal aliens invading this nation. Deportation will avoid all the confusion of who stays, who goes, etcetera.
The 14th Amendment needs to go back to its original meaning. The children of illegals are also illegal. They go with the parents and it is retroactive.
If this crime of overlooking lawbreakers continues, what other crimes will be overlooked?
Why can't this administration open its eyes? It has remained silent while invaders and their supporters marched in our streets waving foreign flags and threatening to take over. That's a clear declaration of war. The American people see it, why can't our leaders?
From David Levin:
You state in your column that Mexicans in Mexico aren't breeding as they once were, and how this somehow affects or will affect the number of illegal alien farm workers in the United States. This is non-sensical trash! Millions of illegals from Mexico and other Latin American countries are breaking through our border every year. There are, contrary to your quoting the open borders party line figure of 12 million illegals (as per the left-wing Pew Study and grossly unreporting CENSUS figure of 11 million), more than 30 million illegals in the United States.! Did you ever read Bear Stearns Report of January 2005?
These are not “underground” psychobabble reports.
What you and your farmer buddies are clearly worried about is the huge number of illegals who refuse to do hard work anymore, and have vied for construction, hotel and other service industry work instead of toiling in the fields. What you and your farmer friends refuse to admit is the fact that farm workers are paid so poorly it's no secret why they can't get American citizens to work in the fields.
If they paid, say, $13 per hour, you'd see thousands flocking to the fields! But greedy growers and farmers won't pay those kinds of wages. They want cheap, illegal, slave labor.
Shame on them!
From an unsigned Georgian:
California means nothing to Georgians. I have 13 grandchildren. We will import our food rather than Mexican labor. Where do you think these 20,000,000 illegal immigrants will go during the 2007 economic recession. I hope Congress has more sense than to dump 20,000,000 illegals on America during a recession
From Paul Eberhardt:
Harry: A true masterpiece. Probably the best editorial you have even written. Congratulations.
From Lance B. Sjogren:
If farmers want a guest worker program, they should be working with congressman Tancredo, who proposed the only honest guest worker program that's on the table.
All the other proposals are amnesty programs masquerading as guest worker programs.
As the expert you cited, Bert Mason, pointed out, the children of farmworkers don't want to do farm work.
Thus, amnesty programs do not solve the ag worker problem.
Only a TRUE guest worker program of the type that Tancredo has proposed would stand a chance of doing that.
And that means:
No citizenship for the children of guest workers
Guest workers are true “guests” who return home after their visa expires and if they try to remain the get rounded up and deported.
Economic incentives to assure that they go home. Deduct part of their pay that is payable to them after they have returned to their home country.
Crack down hard on illegal immigration so that illegal aliens don't take jobs that are supposed to go to guest workers.
By the way: You seem to sympathize with the idiots who equate a border wall to keep illegals out with the Berlin Wall, which was to keep enslaved citizens in.
Get a grip, sir.
From an unsigned reader:
Pull the other one. If farm labor were in such short supply, we wouldn't have instances such as the recent one where an employer of H2-Bs underpaid workers and gave them far fewer hours of work than agreed to when they were brought over. Furthermore, a major reason for the supposed dearth of farm workers has been that they left for higher paying jobs in construction. With the housing market slowing down, you can bet that many illegal aliens will be returning to the fields.
As for subsequent generations not wanting to work in the fields, well, that should be a clue to farmers. Americans will do dirty backbreaking work if it pays well enough, although mechanization would surely help.
From Alex Landi:
Everything about immigration has been done in a wrongheaded manner for decades.
Too much legal immigration, out-of-control illegal immigration, and foolish, half-hearted (at best) attempts to control the borders. This crisis has been building for years, and all the growers, and their organizations, are partly responsible. If the subject weren't so serious, I would be tempted to laugh at your hand wringing.
Citizens like me have been griping about this mess for a very long time. We were brushed off, called racists, alarmists. isolationists, etcetera - every name in the book.
Now (finally!) Washington is feeling some heat, and a few paltry measures are being implemented. This is just enough to cause some growers a few problems. That is just the beginning.
I am totally against amnesty of any sort. If we grant illegals (trespassers) another one-time amnesty, millions more will come, knowing that America has backed down again.
The destiny of this nation is far more important than your business concerns. And don't try to say we will pay more for our food without illegals - we are paying $75 billion per year in social costs (while watching our country slowly descend to third-world status) just to subsidize a bunch of employers who want the cheapest labor possible.
The states and communities get all the problems and costs associated with the presence of large numbers of illegals, and greedy employers get the benefits. They really need to start thinking about what kind of country they will be leaving their kids. It won't be as good as the one they got from their fathers. Guaranteed.
The only answer that protects this country in the long run: an actual guest worker program of temporary workers. You don't amnesty (surrender to) millions of lawbreakers and call them guest workers. Only idiots like Bush believe that. We need to send all the illegals home.
We'll give them six months to go. In the meantime, we set up recruiting stations in Mexico for legal guest workers. It would be for Mexicans only, men only, (for obvious reasons) and for agriculture only. When the deadline expires, we begin the sweeps.
All illegals caught here would be taken into custody, IDd (DNA, photo, fingerprints, etcetera.), deported, and forever be disqualified from returning as a legal guest worker or legal immigrant. Most will self deport.
Employers don't want all the hassles of such a program. Perhaps they prefer the hassles of bankruptcy as the labor supply begins to dry up.
The answer is a real guest worker program, and not surrender because it's “easier.”
This is our nation, our homeland, and our special place in the world. It is more than a bleeping business zone.
From Paul Bennett:
I just read your story. Interesting! Let me share with you two facts (and I mean facts) from my personal life.1. Some members of my family farm in southern Illinois, my grandparents and parents were farmers…they have never, ever, even once used illegals to help them boost their profits (they are honest and decent Americans, unlike the chamber of commerce, big-business types).
2. I own my own small company, I have never, ever, even once, thought about using illegals to boost my profits.Here's hoping a lot of businesses will go broke, if they lose their illegal labor force. No one in my family ever thought, “Oh, I must do something illegal in order to be profitable.” I don't recall the government ever passing any loopholes for me, or lobbying (buying off) politicians, so I can make a living.
Here's hoping that more and more people will not buy into these nonsense “boo-hoo” stories about how we need illegals or the world will come to an end. Although I am not registered with either party, have no PAC affiliation, or any influence whatsover,
I have enjoyed the tremendous backlash against the open-borders whack jobs. And I will re-double my efforts to expand the backlash against illegals even further, now that the Democrat-open-border-Jorge-Bush team in on the job.
From Steve West:
All of us in the produce industry here in the desert (Yuma, Imperial, Coachella) agree with you 1,000 percent.
Oh, and on the 6 million deportees…the same 100 guys 60,000 times.