Bill Maxwell: We need immigration law that will be fair to migrant workers

By Bill Maxwell

Tampa Bay Times

Published: Wednesday, July 25 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Labor experts and farmers have been arguing for years, using empirical evidence, that average Americans lack the skills and toughness to do farm work. But we persist in lying to ourselves time and again and expecting different results.

Migrant and seasonal workers are unique. In addition to being outdoors from sunup to sundown, they often work seven days a week for short periods before packing their belongings and moving on to the next job hundreds or thousands of miles away. They enjoy none of the benefits, such as health insurance, the rest of us expect.

Instead of passing laws that punish those who do the thankless work the rest of us will not do, we should use the increasing labor shortage and crop losses as the opportunity to stop the insanity. We have a moral obligation to establish immigration legislation that permanently and fairly rewards the invisible people who harvest our bounty.

Contact Bill Maxwell at bmaxwell@tampabay.com.

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