Immigration issues endangering agriculture's future

Full story: Evening Sun 35
Hector Mateos, 18, trims raspberry bushes at Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farm in Biglerville. Full Story
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KAC

Harrisburg, PA

#1 Mar 30, 2008
Well in all honestly I have lived in the area since 1997 and I get my produce from a different state, especially my tomatoes. I dont know why the fruit and veggies grown locally dont taste that good to me, maybe because I have come accustom to what I have always eaten but best of luck to you anyway....just go through the proper channels and do what has to be done thats all you can do. See we all just sit back and let things go and then when it gets really really bad then it becomes an issue, why do we all wait so long?????
just a thought

Woodbury, NJ

#2 Mar 30, 2008
The reasons American's are not lining up to do these jobs are the pay stinks, there's no benefits, no healthcare, no 401K, no retirement. Americans cannot live for an entire year on seasonal salaries. Maybe an alternative would be to target highschool or college kids who are looking for seasonal employment. I'm so sick of this whole "the work is to hard for lazy Americans" crap. I think the local people would gladly pay more for their produce if Americans were working and it was a benefit to the American people. I know I would.
Jorge Ramos

Aurora, CO

#3 Mar 30, 2008
These "farmers" rape the rest of the US taxpayers as they dump the social costs of education, medical, judicial, welfare.. etc on us. For the tomato farmer harvester's have been available to do this work since the 1960's. For the Mexican consulate to tell the lie that these illegal aliens don't take US jobs, have him/her go to a construction site and see these scabs have truly taken US workers jobs at a reduced unlivable wage. Unless you're living 20 to a house, pay not taxes, insurance... etc.
us citizen

Girard, OH

#4 Mar 30, 2008
you farmers complain you don't have help. go out and bid for the people who have the visa's. i forgot you want cheap labor. i remembered i got paid 3.00 an hour. doing some work for someone. that was 20 yrs ago. but what are you going to pay them now 3.00 again no where in article you guys mention the pay rate. stop complaining about not getting workers. they are every where. you just have to look. pay well you get good workers. word of advice take a paycut from the top.
zeezil

Davidson, NC

#5 Mar 30, 2008
H-1B (skilled, high tech), H-2A (agricultural) and H-2B (non-agricultural) temporary/seasonal worker visas are contributors to our illegal immigration problem. The government issues these visas with no mechanism to ensure that the recipients depart when their visa expires. Approximately 45% of illegal aliens in America are here because they have overstayed their visas and refuse to leave, greatly contributing to our illegal immigration problem.

Remember this: there is nothing more permanent than a temporary worker.

We should not be issuing any visas unless we ensure we have enforcement mechanisms in place to make sure the temporary workers depart and abide by the terms of the visa.
Dr Coles

Los Angeles, CA

#6 Mar 30, 2008
Illegal Aliens and Immigration is NOT the same thing. Immigrant is a legal status granted by a sovereign country. We have to many folks who do not know and are ignorant or outright deceivers, confusing illegal alien workers calling them illegal immigrants with immigrants. Criminals did NOT build America; Citizens and LEGAL immigrants built it. American’s want an end to anarchy! This is NOT a Democrat, Republican, Independent issue. It's an American Issue.

Illegal aliens are criminals, those who hire them are criminals and those who aid-and-abet them are criminals.

Illegal aliens in America have NO rights. We are required by law to arrest and prosecute, deport them.(Title 8 U.S. Code) To report illegal aliens call the DHS National Hotline 1 866 DHS 2ICE.(1-866-347-2523)

No, matter your political party affiliation, and setting aside your thoughts on issues. We all need to remember what it is to be an American Citizen. We need to make sure our elected representatives obey their Oath of Office and keep their Oath of Allegiance. See http://tinyurl.com/2znnvl Know whom you are voting for.
Beth

Louisville, KY

#7 Mar 30, 2008
My sister and her husband gave up a 3rd generation farming operation for lack of labor.

Most people don't understand how agriculture industry works, or they'd reserve their "rape" flame throwing comments for bigoted sites where they are welcome.

Farmers pay on a piece work schedule. If you work hard, you can make great money. That IS the quenessiential American ideal - Capitalism at it's best, no? The Tomato Farmer payed on average about $16.50 an hour. That's good money - but his guys worked hard for it, I'm sure.

My sister tried to explain to her workers that you can't make $16.50 an hour taking a smoke break ever half hour and getting into food fights goofing around... like high school and college kids tend to do... you end up making about minimum wage.

Sadly, the conservative voice that should be advocates for eliminating welfare and getting paid for a job well done (not asking farmers to subsidize a poor work ethic) are the very ones who now are volunteering the rest of us to pay a higher cost for our produce... or worse, compromising our security by importing our food supply.

You think we had a safety problem with importing Chinese toys? Wait until terrorists figure out how vulnerable we are bringing in tomatoes across the Rio Grand.

Border Security? Yeah right.

Since: Dec 07

Arlington, VA

#8 Mar 30, 2008
Comprehensive immigration reform is stalled and will remain so for years, even if the Democrats win more Congressional seats as expected. The one core fact is that American business in general and agriculture in particular has become addicted to exploitation of both legal and illegal temporary workers. Farmers must deal with increased enforcement first, and start thinking about offering competitive compensation for those who toil to reap the fruit of the Earth. If you're hooked, get into economic and political rehab and stop whining about not getting your fix.
ANC

Woodbury, NJ

#9 Mar 30, 2008
it's funny that "Beth" states highschool and college kids goof around and have food fights yet the age of the migrant worker featured in this article is 18. Last time I checked that was highchool/college age. I know quite a few highschool kids who'd love to work for $16 an hour. I have family who work for a local farmer one drives a truck which requires a CDL and the other works in the packing plant yet neither of them make $16 an hour. I guess those higher pay scales are reserved for the migrants or someone's telling tall tales. I personally don't believe that farmers are paying anything close to those wages to anyone.
Chuck Woolery

Calumet City, IL

#10 Mar 30, 2008
Farmers are the new enemy of America. This grower became the biggest because of cheap illegal labor that undercuts the legal growers, who, year by year, are forced to abandon legal hiring practices to stay afloat. From a national perspective, we'll all pay 5 cents more for a tomato to save endless billions in social costs the Mexicans incur.
Haydee Pavia

Laguna Woods, CA

#11 Mar 30, 2008
Editor:
The produce growers as well as just about every other industry is addicted to taxpayer subsidized illegal alien labor. The part is over folks!
Get rid of the middle man, the produce brokers, deal more directly with the consumer and hire legal help with better pay and with benefits. Instead of making 1000 per cent profit, you will have to be content with 500 per cent profit. It's still a good living.
No Farms No Food

Middletown, PA

#12 Mar 30, 2008
Hey ANC, a spoiled video game playing American kid wants his $16 an hour to come easily and if a farmer is going to pay that kind of money it is going to be hard work, because a farmer would work hard him or herself for that kind of money. The 18 year old immigrant kid has been through a different life and a different world.

As for the "farmers are the new enemy" guy, it wont be $.05 per tomato, the low percentage of disposable income that Americans pay for their food (the lowest in the world) will totally change, you think gas prices are bad, wait until food prices are sky high. There will be a lot more people on welfare draining your tax programs for "billions" and those will be home-grown, legal, English-speaking, nationals.

WAKE UP.

There has to be a legal remedy for this which includes an increase in the H2A program, more migrants that will go back at the end of the season.
austin

Elmora, PA

#13 Mar 30, 2008
WHO PICKED THE CROPS 32
YEARS AGO ? BEFORE WE HAD THE MIGRANTS.MAYBE WE SHOULD MAKE SOME OF THE WELFARE ABLE BODIED PEOPLE DO THIS INSTEAD OF JUST GIVING THEM CASH & FOOD STAMPS
Rednecks

Sunnyvale, CA

#14 Mar 30, 2008
Why do they allow rednecks to breed? Bunch of stupid redneck comments here except for a few. Too many rednecks in the world. Actually most are from the US and most make comments such as these. Racists, ignorant, wallmart shopping, overweight piggy eaters and flapping mouths. Yes....you know who you are.
Your stupid and will never get it, so don't breed please, it's time you phase out.
Lets make a deal

United States

#15 Mar 30, 2008
Offer the pure-blooded Americans in this country the opportunity to DO the jobs people claim WE won't, and only Mexicans WILL do......but offer to give US ALL the same RIGHTS and ASSISTANCE and other fringe benefits the Mexicans here illegally are given.......I'll bet pureblooded Americans WILL do the job..........providing they are given "the whole package" and ALL illegals of EVERY nationality are forced to deport at once. The reason Americans won't do the jobs Mexicans will as it stands is because Americans wouldn't get the fringe benefits just by accepting the job alone.....THE JOB AND PAY IS WHERE IT WOULD END FOR THE PURE BLOODED AMERICAN. Imagine how short the unemployment lines would become?? Thats just a percentage of the good this deal could bring to the country.
Pete Murphy

United States

#16 Mar 31, 2008
First of all, we can reject the notion that Americans won't do this kind of work. Drive by any farm that advertises "you pick" and a price that's 50% below grocery store prices, and you won't be able to find a parking place.

So it's a matter of pay. Let's say that a good tomato picker can pick 1,000 tomatoes an hour. Raise his pay by $15 to $20 an hour. This adds only 1.5 cents to the cost of the tomato. But the tomato will probably be even more affordable because the greater demand for labor (driven higher by eliminaing illegal workers) will drive everyone's pay higher.

Will workers materialize over-night out of thin air? No. But it won't take long for word to get out. I can tell you that, before long, most of the population of my county would relocate to the town closest to that tomato farm to make that kind of money.
Robert Whitley

Harrisburg, PA

#17 Mar 31, 2008
First of all shame on you Hanover Sun for not showing both sides of the story. How much do migrant workers get paid? How many violate thier visa's? How much profit does the corporate backed farm make? How does illegal immigrants impact our society? I get tired of the liberal far left using these scare tactics with every issue. I believe we should employee are prisoners to do this work. There are many solutions that could be thought of instead of constantly comprimising our soverignty and insulting Americans with common sense.Do you honestly believe they won't plant a crop. I hope this small local paper does not go the way of the NYT.
Jim Avery

AOL

#18 Mar 31, 2008
What a wonderful opportunity to provide people on welfare and prisoners a chance to work and pay off some of the support the government gives them. They can go to work picking tomatoes. They get exercize, fresh aire and their salary can help defray the expenses government incurs on their behalf.
No Farms No Food

Washington, DC

#19 Mar 31, 2008
You pick operations are hobby for a few minutes, not an occupation.

I agree with Jim that prisoners should do the work, but they have cried out and won case after case about getting visitation, television, education etc, you don't think they'll cry about cruel working conditions.

Oh and who picked crops before these immigrants? Other immigrants, then their kids became the so called "pure blooded Americans", listen to how rediculous you people sound. Clearly the pure bloods on this chain have had quite an extensive education in economics and civics.
Deb S

Sawyer, MI

#20 Mar 31, 2008
Excuse me, May I enlighten a few of you. As a farmewife of 30 years.

First of all we must all follow Department of Labor, Hour and Wage Standards, plus Migrant Seasonal labor standards. Everyone must be paid at least minium wage and receive pay for every hour worked. They do come an check on this, regardless if the workers is legal worker or not. Workers will not stick around if they are not making good money.

We provide FREE licensed by the state housing, total Free everything.So add this to the wages paid.

Second, most Americans can not phycially do the work.
As to the greedy American farmer keeping all the money. Most American farmers, farm out of love for the family farm, something most American cannot and never will understand.

Example,we produce cucumbers,harvest and pack them. They are picked up by our broker (who gets a cut),he sell to a buyer (who gets a cut), here is were the difference begins. The buyer tells him how much he is willing to pay. We do not set the price, we do not know what we will be getting for the produce when we plant it. I know that is not a good business practice but that is how it is done.
Then if you have the good fortune of selling to a corporation like Walmart, they decide that when your produce arrives to the store that the quality is not what they desire, but they will keep it and sell it, but will be paying you less or not at all.

Less than 2% of American population are American food producers. So like another poster said earlier. When America becomes dependent on another country for our food, you will lose the safety and cheap prices, and availablity.That is not a scare tactic it is a fact.

Don't complain with you mouth and belly full.

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