From TheCitizen.com, David Browning, 11 Oct 2011.
Earlier this week PBS radio ran a piece about the shortage of migrant farm workers in Georgia. This morning a follow-up news item was aired underscoring this point. It seems that Georgia farmers have lost something like $70 million in unpicked crops this season.
How ironic it is that in a state where unemployment is at unacceptable levels that there should be a farm labor shortage. Of course, never mind that the state of Georgia has recently passed laws to stop illegal immigrants from finding work and that these are the very people that traditionally do this kind of work. So now that we have successfully run off migrant workers, we are complaining because we can’t get farm crops from the fields to market.
I can’t figure out why in the midst of high unemployment farmers cannot find day laborers who will come out into the fields to pick crops. Could it be that migrant farm workers are underpaid, treated very poorly and that it frequently takes the whole family working to make a decent day’s pay? The work is hard, the hours are long and there are no fringe benefits. Few native-born Americans will do this kind of work anymore and who would blame them?
I was living in the San Joaquin Valley in California during the late sixties and remember Caesar Chavez as he worked to form the United Farm Workers Union. Virtually everyone who should have been supporting his endeavor opposed it.
Why? Because farmers and agri-corporations claimed it would ruin them by causing the cost of farm produce to rise to unacceptable levels.
I also remember seeing the plight of the workers. It made me sad and ashamed that in this land of plenty some of its people simply could not earn enough to get along. Public support was slow in coming as fear-mongering by the farmers made us afraid we would have to pay a lot more for produce.
Some among us are so afraid of the migration of Hispanics into the United States that they are getting crazy. We need these immigrants who come to this country to work. But we must pay them a decent wage and see to it that they pay their fair share of the cost of the social welfare programs they they use.
Since we are in the South and also the Bible Belt, I would remind readers that the Bible speaks clearly about the “aliens among us” (Ex. 22:21, Lev. 24:22, Ps. 146:9).
So, what’s the point? We have jobs and nobody to fill them. We need to demand that our elected officials do something about these ridiculous incongruities in America. I doubt if they will, though. All our politicians can do is continually run for office so they can stay on the gravy train. (Isa. 5:20.)
Peachtree City, Ga.