The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. — Matthew 9:37
Good news. The jobs crisis is over.
You read that correctly. There is plenty work available for downsized, furloughed and involuntarily separated laborers whose inability to land jobs in a rugged economy has driven the unemployment rate past nine percent. You probably didn’t hear about it in your lamestream media, but the problem has indeed been solved — and it didn’t take some fancy pants economic stimulus package to get ’er done, either. No, all that was needed was some old-fashioned American ingenuity.
Meaning the recent Alabama law (toughest in the nation, they say) cracking down on illegal alien workers. Ever since it was passed, Hispanic farm laborers who had been taking jobs from hard-working Americans have been fleeing that state like a foreign language film with subtitles. As a result, there is now lots of work available in the exciting field of . . . well, fields. As in fields of vegetables and fruit.
For the last month, newspapers have been reporting an agricultural labor shortage as Hispanic workers — legal and illegal — have abandoned Alabama to escape a law that, if it survives legal challenge, would have police and school teachers checking immigration status of traffic violators and kindergarteners. According to growers, this has left them trying to get through harvest time without harvesters. The result: berries and tomatoes rotting in the fields and a projected $40 million loss to the state’s economy. But this is bigger than ’Bama. Even states that have not passed crackdowns are seeing labor shortages. Some growers say they will have to go out of business.
This is great news! Now that those darn Hispanics are no longer hogging all the work, there are jobs available for real Americans.
OK, growers say real Americans aren’t exactly knocking down doors to get these jobs. They say those real Americans they do hire are slow and tend to work only a few hours, then quit, complaining about how hard it is. As grower Connie Horner told The Associated Press, “You can’t find legal workers. Basically they last a day or two, literally.”
But you know what that is, right? Just propaganda from the illegal-coddling liberal lamestream media. Why wouldn’t any real American want these jobs? Are you kidding me?
You get plenty of fresh air, working outside in the sun. And the rain. You don’t need some fancy college education; nearly a third of all farm workers never got past ninth grade. Plus, you only work part of the year. You can choose to travel, following the crop to such exciting hotspots as Oneonta, Ala., Homerville, Ga., and, if you’re lucky, the big town itself: Barstow, Calif. You might get housed in a trailer and have access to a communal bathroom — no cleanup chores for you! All this, and they pay you an average of $10.22 an hour. Imagine the liniment that will buy!
Be glad Congress didn’t pass some guest worker program or other gimmick to make it easier for foreigners to come here and work. If they had, real Americans would not be in line for these great jobs on real American farms.
Something to think about next time you bite into that sweet Florida orange or juicy Georgia peach. Assuming, of course, you can find one.
Or afford it.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Readers may write to him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. He chats with readers every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT at Ask Leonard.