Fast focus: What should we do about the farm labor shortage? Reduce our unemployment

February 17, 2013 

We don't have a shortage of migrant workers. Take a look around. Many of them have jobs in the restaurant, retail, construction, landscaping, hotel housekeeping, and many other fields. These are jobs our unemployed citizens could fill.

I remember a news segment about a year ago profiling former and would-be migrant workers and their families. The focus was on the fact that most of them had wised up to the fact that their "illegal" status wasn't a barrier to gaining employment in other non-agricultural jobs. They were very frank in saying that they chose not to continue working in agriculture because they had options.

Why do we need to bring more migrant workers to this country so that they can do the same?

Agricultural work, or migrant work, can be demanding. Our own citizens have decided that they don't even want the jobs. It's a shame that so many out-of-work citizens won't apply for the jobs. For many of them it's more lucrative to stay on public assistance.

Why not require those on public assistance to work for their pay? Too much trouble to train them? Well, it has to start somewhere.

-- MARSHA HART, Kennewick

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