OP-ED: American Can Use a Laugh -- But Who Figured It Would Come From the Immigration Folks?

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick

The word “jobs” is rife among the political lingo one might think candidates at all levels, including Romney and Obama, have magic formulae just waiting until the morning after election.  Along with this are the screams from the Teabaggers, Limbaugh, Beck et al about illegal workers snagging jobs from Americans.

I don’t endorse anything illegal, but I also don’t endorse hypocrisy…yet I do like a laugh from any source these days.

So it’s revealed that some months ago in the state of Washington, which has its own unemployment concerns, farm jobs were going begging and no one begging to take them, at least no any red blooded Americans.  Seems farmers in the Okanogan County were desperate because there were not enough people to pick their cherries and apples.

Why?

Well, there had been hundreds of Mexican workers who had lived and worked in that farm area for many years…until the cops arrived to check everyone’s papers, sending the hardworking folks scurrying hither and yon, perhaps more yon than hither.  Result:  the farmers quickly had to post ads promoting jobs for anyone who could meet the requirements and willing to get up to $16.48 an hour to pick cherries and up to $12.19 to pick apples.

Of course the requirements were not for softies.  According to the Seattle Times, Gebbers Farms posted help wanted ads for 1250 workers who “must be able to lift 60 pounds, climb a ladder while carrying 40 pounds and endure “wet orchards in temperatures from 30 to 100 degrees.”

Well, you guessed it:  hardly any Americans opted for the work.  The solution?  And here comes the laugh so badly needed these days:  In an emergency step to replace the longtime resident hardworking Mexicans, it turns out a reported 300 Jamaicans were expected to fill the gaps, with some farmers indicating the potential to bring in more than a thousand foreign “temporary” workers.

Then only days ago, one of the two top defense industry contractors, Boeing, went very public urging their subcontractors to outsource work to Mexico to get lower labor costs!

So where were all the Teabaggers, Limbaugh and others screaming about what should be done?  Mostly where were all the unemployed American workers scampering at full speed to the farms and willing to put their red blooded energies to earning some dough?

And why have the media made so little of the Boeing promotion to outsource to Mexico?

As I noted in the beginning,  America could use a laugh or two right now, but who would have figured it would have come from such hypocrisy?  On the other hand, given the levels of hypocrisy pervading the political campaigns, why not?

 Author’s note: this article was written at least three years ago.  Not much if anything has changed. 

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Honick is president of GMA International Ltd., Bainbridge Island, WA.  He is an international consultant to business and writes on a variety of public affairs issues.

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