"[The claimed labor shortage is a result of] those crazy Minutemen and now the National Guard," [Joseph Ramazzotti, owner of Ramazzotti Vineyards & Wines in Geyserville] said of increasing border patrols.Oddly enough, the article "Pick your theory, but valley is short of cherry harvesters" by Michael Rose of the Oregon Statesman Journal contains something similar:
The worker shortage has left [cherry farmer Terry Drazdoff] exasperated -- and time isn't on his side. He also is railing at the government's decision to put National Guard troops on the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.It also contains this no-it's-not-The-Onion quote from Drazdoff:
"Why did President Bush do this before harvest?"While the article - like all of the rest in this series - assumes that illegal immigration is acceptable, it isn't 100% a puff piece. And, it does contain this:
Back at Drazdoff's farm, the farmer might soon have to decide between shifting to mechanical harvest and letting his crop rot. The migrant workers, who have brought in the harvest at his farm for decades, might be permanently replaced by picking machines.Wouldn't that be better overall? Shouldn't that be something our politicians - elected to represent American interests - should be promoting instead of cheap foreign serf labor? Unfortunately, the Bush administration and most of Congress put the interests of cherry growers ahead of the interests of everyone else. A case in point:
Speaking to family farmers and farm leaders [on June 9] at the California Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said he is encouraged by the positive steps made toward national immigration reform and believes a comprehensive, bipartisan bill will emerge from a House-Senate negotiations process.Our elected leaders enforcing our laws is the only way we could have border security. Johanns' statement is essentially blackmail: the Bush administration will only enforce laws if the laws are changed to suit it. And, of course, there's absolutely no guarantee that Bush would enforce the changed laws. People like Johanns would be trotted out to explain why the changed laws would have to be changed again before they would be enforced.
Johanns' visit to the Farm Bureau was the last stop during a two-day swing through California to rouse support for comprehensive immigration reform, an approach favored by the president. Earlier that day, he toured a cherry-packing facility in Stockton. He also spoke to a group of farm leaders in Fresno the previous day.
...Johanns said a comprehensive approach will assure border security.
"How are you going to have effective border control if you don't have a comprehensive plan?" he asked. "How are you to have effective border control if you say to California farmers, 'We know if you don't get labor, you're not going to get your crops in, but so what?' Is that effective?
[there's a "growing labor crisis"; pimps AgJOBS; Johanns explains how the amnesty scheme isn't amnesty: amnesty must involve "someone waving a magic wand"...]I have little doubt that a good portion of that cheap labor could be automated away. Instead of importing a foreign serf class, we could build and export cherry machines. Or, we could just leave the cherry "industry" out to twist in the wind, letting them know that there are things that are much more important.
At OG Packing in Stockton, Johanns got a firsthand look at some of the challenges California producers face during their height of production. Tom Gotelli, whose family farms cherries and operates the packing facility, led the secretary through the plant where workers were washing, sorting and packaging the very labor-intensive crop.
"There's no better example of the need for immigration reform than right here at this facility," Johanns said to a group of reporters after touring the packinghouse. "This plant is here because of labor. You take the labor out of the equation, and you've got a very serious problem. But that could be said about anybody who is in this business."
He noted that while immigration reform is a big issue to California, "it's not an issue unique to California." As former governor of Nebraska, Johanns said he saw how the immigration issue affected beef producers in a state that does not border another country.That's about all I'm going to quote. For more on Johanns, see Ag Sec'y nominee "Fought to Protect Giant Meatpackers from Immigration Law Enforcement"
Immigration · Sat, 07/01/2006 - 01:31 · Importance: 1