Comments about ‘Utah farmers, ranchers want immigration reforms to meet labor needs’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 3:10 p.m. MDT

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Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Poster children are so exceptional.
They don't have a string of DUIs. They don't have anchor babies. They don't bring their children. Heck, they didn't even bring their wives.
Such a neat and tidy story.
Give us those SCP visas (Sweet Cherry Pickers) and SH (Sheep Herder) visas. Give us the CM (Cow Milker) visas.
The trouble is the BS.
ONE THIRD of all foreign-born are here illegally. Let's fix the problem by enforcing the law. Get a sponsor with a job for you and stay three years. That's fine. But this has nothing to do with the guy on a landscape truck or the lady who cleans offices. The hotels don't need chambermaids and busboys. We've got our own people to do that.

Taylorsville, 00

Say No brings up a tangental point unintentionally, that ties in with the story. The current U.S. residents don't pick up these jobs in enough quantity. One problem could be the pay scale that's offered for the job. If the border is more securely enforced, the issue with labor will become more acute. The current minimum wage is low enough that the resources needed to get to and from some of these jobs exceeds the take-home pay. Raise the wage offered and you'll see more takers. It will result in higher prices, but at least in the food area, it will be an alternative to not having the food available at all.

Now as for pushing out those who's ancestry is foreign born... I hear a few people would like to set that limit to around 1492?

Murray, UT

The problem goes much deeper than immigration. Even people here illegally have moved to the cities. There are jobs just as hard as ranch and farm work that have no problem getting help.

In another article from a Utah media source in July, the farmer from Payson said their sweet cherry crop fell half-short due to frost and poor pollination. Which is it? Lack of labor or frost and poor polination?

The lack of immigration enforcement, and not deporting visa breakers hurts the farmers. People can come here on visas, and then skip out on the farmers, knowing the government won't make much of an effort to deport them.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

The article states that it isn't about "cheap labor," but that is exactly what it is about. Often only immigrants from poor agricultural regions in poor Latin countries(especially Mexico) are willing to take agricultural jobs at pathetically low wages. Yes higher wages would cause increases in food costs, but not inflation since food and fuel are not part of the inflation index. Seasonal labor(harvesting crops) is not a problem since H2A visas for this are unlimited, but illegal labor is even cheaper.

Not only have millions of agricultural jobs been lost, but tens of millions of unskilled jobs have been lost to mechanization, automation, off-shoring, and reduction in military force numbers. Wages need to rise in agriculture, hospitality, and blue collar jobs in general if the United States is going to be able to absorb a population growth each year of over 2 million.

Wages are a product of supply and demand. Millions of Americans presently work in agriculture and millions more would if wages were better. Many of the the young people from rural areas would love to take jobs on farms and ranches if they could make a decent living.

Forest Grove, OR

More of the same "flood the market with cheap labor" so that the bulk of the profits flow to the top few percent. No wonder we have an unprecedented wealth gap, and growing exponentially, in this nation right now -- and we want to make it worse by importing even more workers? This can only make sense to those at the top raking in all the profits, but is detrimental to all else.

Mr. Bean
Phoenix, AZ

"People can come here on visas, and then skip out on the farmers, knowing the government won't make much of an effort to deport them."

Illegals don't even have to come on visas anymore. All they need do is ask for asylum at the border and they are accepted by the border patrol, put up in a motel with a swimming pool awaiting a court hearing. Then, after a month or two they disappear somewhere into the interior. And when they get settled they have Obama to thank for his illegal (and unlawful) amnesty program.

This guy's shooting for open borders not only for more Democrat voters but to open the door for mid east Muslim immigration. Whoa! Could Shariah be on its way?

Springville, UT

One thing is absolutely certain, the Deseret News (and likely its parent company) doesn't have the guts to have an open discussion regarding the pros and cons of open borders and sanctioning illegal immigration. Nor do they have the guts to explain the REAL reasons they feel it's necessary to issue one-sided propaganda in favor of both.

Simple math. If you have 100 jobs in a closed society, but let in twenty workers who'll work for less, the result will be 20 former workers out of a job.

Simple logic. If you ignore the violation of laws by one group, they will not respect the other existing laws nor any new laws. Further, it breeds anarchy.

Another simple logic. If you take property from one person and give it to another, you will create hostility.

Finally, if you keep changing your story regarding your support for illegal immigration, you're disingenuous...and only the low-information types will fall for it. And that seems to be your objective.

DN Subscriber 2

Okay, I understand we need more agricultural workers.

I also understand we have MILLIONS of U.S. citizens collecting welfare checks for doing no work at all.

I do NOT understand why the need for workers cannot be met by requiring the idle people receiving welfare to do the work.

Oh, yeah, life on the welfare plantation is an entitlement, and to expect recipients to actually work or lose the benefits would be .....

It used to be that if a person was hungry, they got a job. Now they just get a handout.
A;most no one on welfare would hold up to the work demands and schedule that most farmers and ranchers perform their entire lives. These producers would not even think of asking for a handout without at least offering to work for it.

We know than many of the illegal immigrants are willing to do the hard work. Perhaps we need to just cut off the welfare to any U.S. citizen who will not work, and let the immigrants come anyway.

Murray, UT

DN Subscriber 2

Do you approve off the taxpayers subsidizing business with cheap labor by allowing families here illegally to collect welfare (through their children) and pay for their schooling? Praise the business that uses the H-2a visa, and condemn the government for not enforcing visa laws.

Is it right to force people to work in labor extensive jobs, that other business owners pay much more? Sounds like a form of slavery. And then there is the 29 hour Obama work week.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

There has been much in the media lately regarding raising the minimum wage, providing a "workable wage", etc.

We need look no further than the flood of illegal trespassers to intuitively SEE the problem with a "government solution" regarding labor rates.

IF existing immigration laws EVER get enforced; you'll naturally see a rise in labor rates.

Why would we want to legalize (and legitimize)30 million "new" illegal trespassers when we already have so many of our OWN citizens out of work?

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

All anti-immigrant writers without a second job should apply for work on evenings and weekends in farms and ranches.

American Fork, UT

Lettuce would simply be unaffordable otherwise.

Phoenix, AZ

It may seem ironic, but the long term solution is for more Northamericans to immigrate into Mexico and South America facilitated by treaty of recipical agreement. The weather and living is wonderful south of the boarder; so quit your gripping and start packing, and push your govrnment for favorable treaties

Fairview, UT

one vote
Why should we accept the premise that two jobs are required to subsist in today's economy? That may be true if you have not taken advantage of the educational/vocational opportunities available or if you have chosen a career in a dying technology or have not maintained your education current. Those are all personal choices and choices, as well as actions, have consequences.
Without cheap labor, the cost of produce would rise until the market price drives the implementation of automation, at which point prices would plummet. The false forcing of farm supports inhibits this technological evolution.
I would love to see someone develop a cherry picker that could be run from a video display. We have a whole generation of already trained gamers who can fill that role.

Murray, UT

one vote

It's not anti-immigrant, it's anti illegal alien. There is a big difference. I think people need to be honeest about which we are talking about. I worked in the business with one of the quoted farmers neighbors. Why force people to work labor intensive jobs that are underpaid, compared to other labor intensive workers?


Labor is only 7% of the cost of lettuce. Double their wages and we end up paying 6-9 cents more per head.

Or we could force government to enforce and deport the H-2A workers that leave the farms, fixing the problem quite easily. H-2A visas are unlimited, but doubled in price in Obama's first year. Their cost could be cut in half like they were in 2008.

Tart cherry tree "shakers" have been in use since the 60's.

Redding, CA

say no to bo: Your twisted logic is wrong, the problem that needs fixing is aligning poor but willing workers with willing employers, not "enforcing the law" like you post, present policy is bad and it needs to be changed in the direction of allowing immigrants a real path to work and to citizenship. We need to end your view of using the law's boot on the neck of poor immigrants. You are the poster child for what's wrong with continuing the present (non) immigration policy. Say No to say no to bo.

Provo, UT

I think that some of the reasons that they can't find workers is because there isn't enough awareness of where the jobs are available. I know growing up that I would have enjoyed working outdoors. But I never heard of any jobs and didn't know where to look. I think like many teenagers, they don't know how to find those jobs.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

A few years ago I rode my mountain bike up Millcreek Canyon to Puke Hill via the Great Western Trail. I met a sheepherder up there. He was from Peru. He didn't speak english and I don't speak Spanish but we were able to communicate on a basic level. I found out he had a wife and kids back in Peru. I could tell he missed them and would have liked to have been home with them but he was half a world away, working to support them. I was happy he was here, able to work to send money home. I imagine when he returned he told them stories of how wealthy the US is. His kids probably dream of seeing the US one day.
I gave him a candy bar and road my bike back down the Wasatch Crest trail.
We need immigrants working here. They aren't leaches on society any more than wealthy tax cheats are. Corporate welfare is far worse than a sheepherder trying to survive.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

Farm wages along with hospitality and other occupations, filled by cheap labor illegal aliens, are depressed below a decent living standard for Americans. However, if you are poor and living in a hovel in a poor country these these wages look good to you, and create the desire to move to a country with a higher living standard. Often even the poor in the U.S. live better than the middle class in many countries.

I suggest a reading of "Subsistence Wage Theory" also known as the "Iron Law of Wages." (Lassalle & Richardo) Labor always moves to a place with higher wages, until this flood of labor creates an over supply and then due to the laws of supply and demand wages are then suppressed to below subsistence levels, or in a country like the USA to wage levels that will require government subsistence.

In order to protect American workers, the first step should be nationwide use of E-Verify and enforcement to prevent employers from hiring the cheapest labor that they can find. An over supply of illegal labor has made it impossible for Americans to work on farms & ranches and make a decent living for their family.

Phoenix, AZ

@Ernest T. Bass:
"We need immigrants working here."

What we need more than helping some poor immigrant with a job is to get our own citizens employed. We have 14 million unemployed Americans sitting home watching TV drawing billions in unemployment benefits. We need to get these people to work somehow.

Look, a guy from Chicago, Ill. or Biloxi, Miss. could go to the country and ride a horse herding sheep all summer sending his salary home to his wife and kids just as easily as a guy from Peru. Think about it.

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