Cheap food. Fruits, vegetables and milk readily available year round. These are the benefits provided all American citizens by immigrants and temporary seasonal workers or migrant workers.
America was founded by immigrants who were willing to do the back-breaking work necessary to harvest the crops in the scorching heat. Their labors, along with good soil and climate, made America the food production powerhouse that it is today. One difference of the European influx of immigrants from the early years, and the influx of immigrants today, is that America was a young country needing and wanting to grow its populace. Not so today. Public services are being over-taxed, both literally and figuratively, and American citizens are up in arms over abuses.
While America’s European ancestors were willing to work the fields, their descendants, todays citizens, are not. Crops are being left to ROT IN THE FIELDS as farmers can not get legal, documented workers to take field jobs despite offering wages that are 30-40% above minimum wage ranging from $8 to $20 per hour.
The United Farm Workers participates in an on-going campaign called “Take Our Jobs” to entice American workers to take the field jobs that desperately need filled. A recent study showed that of about 86,000 job inquiries the group got, only 11 workers took jobs. With that response, wouldn’t it be fair to say that the immigrant agricultural workforce is not taking jobs away from Americans?
As they post at takeourjobs.org, “Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field.” Visit their website to fill out a job application with the following description:
|** Job may include using hand tools such as knives, hoes, shovels, etc. Duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50 lbs on a regular basis|
As posted on “Take Our Jobs”
There are two issues facing our nation–high unemployment and undocumented people in the workforce–that many Americans believe are related.
Missing from the debate on both issues is an honest recognition that the food we all eat – at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias (including those in the Capitol) – comes to us from the labor of undocumented farm workers.
Agriculture in the United States is dependent on an immigrant workforce. Three-quarters of all crop workers working in American agriculture were born outside the United States. According to government statistics, since the late 1990s, at least 50% of the crop workers have not been authorized to work legally in the United States.
We are a nation in denial about our food supply. As a result the UFW has initiated the “Take Our Jobs” campaign.
Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field. We will use our knowledge and staff to help connect the unemployed with farm employers.
So, blog commenters, how much are you willing to pay for a watermelon? What would you like to pay for that gallon of milk? What do you think of the fact that our nation’s unemployment rate is 8.2% (May 2012 US Department of Labor Report) but American jobs are being left unfilled? What responsibility should the farmers have to document workers, versus the US government? I welcome your comments on this multi-faceted issue.