Mr. Harold, a 71-year-old Vietnam War veteran who drifted here in the late ’60s, has participated for about a decade in a federal program called H-2A that allows seasonal foreign workers into the country to make up the gap where willing and able American workers are few in number. He typically has brought in about 90 people from Mexico each year from July through October.
This year, though, with tough times lingering and a big jump in the minimum wage under the program, to nearly $10.50 an hour, Mr. Harold brought in only two-thirds of his usual contingent. The other positions, he figured, would be snapped up by jobless local residents wanting some extra summer cash.
“It didn’t take me six hours to realize I’d made a heck of a mistake,” Mr. Harold said, standing in his onion field on a recent afternoon as a crew of workers from Mexico cut the tops off yellow onions and bagged them.
Six hours was enough, between the 6 a.m. start time and noon lunch break, for the first wave of local workers to quit. Some simply never came back and gave no reason. Twenty-five of them said specifically, according to farm records, that the work was too hard.
...or pay gets a LOT better. I bet if they upped the ante to 20-25/hr with medical they'd have Americans fighting over those jobs. But the growers won't do that, because they know people expect to go to Walmart and buy shitty flavorless tomatoes for a buck a pound.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:12 PM on October 9
Blackburn did block a measure that sought to bar harboring, transporting, encouraging or renting to illegal immigrants. [...]
She also blocked parts of the law barring illegal immigrants from seeking work, and she blocked the creation of a new traffic penalty for motorists who stop in the roadway to hire day laborers. [...]
[She also stopped] a measure that sought to take away tax benefits for employers who paid salaries to illegal immigrants, and she struck down a provision allowing sanctions against employers who had illegal immigrants on their payroll rather than hiring Americans or legal immigrants.
You're forgetting the flip side - if labor costs increase three- or four-fold like that, the prices of goods will increase, too, pricing food out of the hands of the poorest. It's unfortunately not as simple as "give them all raises and the labor will come".
Americans don't want to be fruit pickers or taxi drivers or hotel cleaners or what have you. But they do want goods and services to remain cheap.
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