Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Land of Milk & Honey

I've been hearing the usual yammering lately about the so-called illegal immigrant problem. According to the narrow-minded, illegals take a lot from our social services system and give little, if anything, back. If we could only rid our nation of these vermin, they say, America will again become the land of milk and honey.

While this makes for good old-fashioned, self-righteous, patriotic rhetoric, it turns out that it bears little semblance to reality. It turns out that these farmworkers give a lot back to each of us in ways too few people fathom.

For argument's sake, though, let's say that our nation decided to embrace this xenophobic mentality. We devised and implemented a plan to round up all the illegal farmworkers (and their extended families) across the nation and shipped them back home. We next built 50' high walls across the full expanse of our southern AND northern borders. We also implemented a new strategy to keep these illegals from sailing or flying into the county.

Would this make the narrow-minded among us happy?

As they used to say in the Hertz Rent-A-Car commercials, Not Exactly!

You see, we'd soon find ourselves in a heap of economic doo doo. For starters, who's going to pick the crops? Agribusiness depends on illegal farmworkers to do the kind of dirty work most Americans shun. The bosses of the big factory farms also depend on the meager wages they pay to these same farmworkers to line their corporate bank accounts.

If there's no one to pick the crops, they'll just rot in place and rotten foodstuffs don't equate to hefty profits. So, while conservatives blame these hardworking illegals for a wide host of societal problems, the farming industry would go belly up without them.

Now, I know that some will say, "Hey, unemployed native born Americans will jump at the chance to do these jobs". While THAT statement is farcical to the max, let's go ahead to accept it as true. It still spells trouble for agribusiness.

I'm fairly certain there aren't too many native born Americans who would willingly toil away for hours on end in the hot sun -- performing backbreaking work -- for give-or-take minimum wage. A lot of desperate people might give it a try, but most would decide there are better ways to be poor. Consequently, turnover would be exceedingly high.

In order to entice more desperate native born Americans to give farm work a try, corporate agribusiness would be forced to offer higher wages and, possibly, even some meager benefits. This, of course, would not be good for the bottom line. Higher expense generally equates to lower profit...

...which leads us to the other problem -- consumer prices would shoot through the roof as agribusiness passed all these new expenses onto us! You think $1.69 for a head of lettuce is high? Try $3 - $4 a head! Dissatisfied with 10 lbs. of apples for $9.22? How do you think you might react if that same 10 lb. bag cost you $15.75?

As one can easily see, the so-called illegal farmworker gives all of us a tremendous amount to keep the American economy humming. They perform the jobs we won't do. They do this hard work for little money and they risk exposure to all sorts of vile toxins (pesticides and herbicides).

In the final analysis, they put in so much more than they take out. So, for all of you narrow-minded people out there, I have two words for you: SHUT UP!!

1 comment:

  1. One thing that is often overlooked by those that cry about the immigration problem are also overlooking the fact that a lot of illegal immigrants still pay taxes. They also are generally more law-abiding than the average American due to the fact they are scared of being found and deported. The only issue I have with illegal immigrants is the fact that I want them to enjoy the same benefits and protections that Americans enjoy.

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