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Unintended Consequences?

September 5, 2007

From the Department of D’oh! comes this article from today’s New York Times:

Short on Labor, Farmers in U.S. Shift to Mexico

Steve Scaroni, a farmer from California, looked across a luxuriant field of lettuce here in central Mexico and liked what he saw: full-strength crews of Mexican farm workers with no immigration problems.

“I’m as American red-blood as it gets,” Mr. Scaroni said, “but I’m tired of fighting the fight on the immigration issue.”

I’ll admit that I’m only passingly familiar with the ins and outs of immigration law right now. I know there’s been a great deal of hubub lately about illegal immigration, how to get it to stop, and whether we should have some form of amnesty or guest worker programs to help meet the supposed demand for foreign workers.

I’ve heard the argument that there are Americans in this country who want to work, but who can’t work because illegal immigrants have taken their jobs. I’ve also heard the security argument, mostly since 9/11, that we need to be more careful about who we let into the country.

I’m just having a hard time finding fault with the business owner in this article. Given the forces at work in his context, I’m wondering why its not better to move operations to where the labor supply isn’t running the risk of deportation. Which, of course, then opens up the problem of other jobs that had been going to Americans (foremen, administrators, etc) now being lost to other countries. Not to mention, as the article does, the problematic situation where our food supply is increasingly coming from outside our borders. Given all the stories lately about tainted food, toy recalls, and the like I’m not sure that’s a positive development either.

I don’t have a driving point I’m on the soapbox about, here. I just don’t think that shifts like this article described are quite what anyone wants out of the immigration debate, and yet they seem inevitable.

Am I missing something?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 6, 2007 12:32 pm

    there are americans who do not have work because they feel the job is beneath them, thus the illegal immigrants and legal immigrants take those jobs. I would have to say about 90% of the americans who collect unemployment do not want to be janitor, ditch diggers or fruit pickers…

  2. Anonymous permalink
    September 13, 2007 2:45 am

    i saw this on the Colbert Report. Funny stuff. We really need some good leadership in office – i think the problem with these big issues is that they get debated cartoonishly and then compromised based on lobbyists.

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