Fast focus: What should we do about the farm labor shortage? Welfare workers

February 17, 2013 

I was surprised to read in the paper that an expected labor shortage initiated a program that will result in allowing thousands of folks from Mexico to come here for the picking seasons. The paper indicated that job fairs were being held in Mexico to assist in filling the needed quota of pickers.

This request for non-U.S. workers falls during a time of extremely high unemployment. While many of the folks currently on the unemployment and welfare roles gripe about the influx of undocumented workers taking our U.S.-based jobs, they are content in letting these folks pick the food their assistance checks pay for to put food on the table.

My grandmother (all 4'8" of her) pulled a 10-foot bag on the ground, filling it with cotton. She and my grandfather worked to harvest crops to feed their family during hard times in the U.S. Instead of drawing welfare or unemployment, every individual physically able should be sent to pick local crops, with their earnings adjusted accordingly.

-- RAY PUGH, Benton City

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