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Letters: Florida dairy farmer's take on immigration provokes debate

February 26, 2013

Re “Business owners get vocal on immigration,” Feb. 23

Although this excellent article clearly demonstrated what a tough issue immigration policy is, it failed to address the hypocrisy of business owners like dairy farmer Joe Wright.

Here's a staunch Republican who would do away with the food stamps program, school lunches and unemployment insurance. But he sure needs his low-wage Latino workforce, the very same low-wage families who qualify for food stamps and subsidized school lunch programs. And I'll bet there's a carton of milk on that lunch tray!

The arrogance and hypocrisy just made me bristle.

Sarah F. Foss

People say that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans, but they forget that all of us were once immigrants. To keep out immigrants is like denying the identity of America; America is a nation of immigrants.

These business owners have a point. They try to open these labor-intensive jobs to American citizens, but no one comes. And because of this, their businesses suffer.

Immigrants have always been a steady source of labor, and they are one of the biggest reasons our country has thrived so well for so long. Immigration reform — to make it easier for immigrants to come here legally — is needed to ensure a labor force in America.

These immigrants are only trying to better their lives. Isn't it a compliment that they chose America to do that in?

Pauline Nguyen

I am tired of hearing the lame, pro-illegal immigrant argument that “they fill jobs Americans don't want.” If the pay were better, plenty of Americans would do those jobs.

I'm willing to pay $1 more for a head of lettuce (and see employers fined) if that's what it takes to hire Americans and stop the flow and exploitation of illegal immigrants.

Tony Stengel
Los Angeles

It seems to me that an obvious solution to the shortage of farm workers would be to have a program in which people incarcerated for nonviolent crimes could be offered the opportunity to fill the farm jobs.

They could earn money while serving their time. This would be a volunteer program, of course.

And we need to work for a change of attitude so that farm workers and other workers without a college degree are respected. We have become a society that belittles the lack of a college degree.

Jo Wetton
Temple City

So the Florida dairy farmer is for letting children starve, but amazingly his list of programs to end does not include farm subsidies, which are among the most bloated and egregious.

Dairy farmers have been living off government programs for decades; in many cases they are the classic example of multi-generational welfare recipients.

Now his position is that he is entitled to continue to receive subsidized foreign labor because he does not intend to pay enough to attract domestic labor.

His positions are self-serving and intellectually dishonest.

Pieter Vandenberg
El Cajon

The self-proclaimed conservative Florida farmer featured in your article epitomizes the hypocritical political conservative.

He's against such things as free school lunches and unemployment insurance, but as soon as he's hurting, he's suddenly a liberal, claiming he wants immigration reform so he can get workers.

Conservatives: continuing the tradition of being selfish and self-serving.

Tony Blake
Woodland Hills

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