Immigrant Rant to NPR 18 may 2007
“Illegals?” Calling Latinos in our workforce ‘illegals’ is a linguistic game that denies their critical role in our economy and creates an atmosphere of fear among workers afraid to seek rights we all take for granted. This not only keeps wages low, but keeps the workforce docile—afraid to seek even their basic rights. Although studies show that the cost of agricultural labor is only about 2 cents on the dollar at the grocery store, agricultural wages and benefits (currently not paid to immigrants) would increase by 40-50% if all workers were documented.
Non immigrant production. I’d like to see retailers offer immigrant and non-immigrant vegetables in separate bins, just as they do for organic produce. Likewise for golf courses, houses, chicken, and food at restaurants, among other things.
The national debate on immigration is so acrimonious, but the anti-immigrant lobby has not come up with a proposal to satisfy our demands.
Philip Martin. Mexican Immigrant workers and US Food Expenditures. http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/uscir/binpapers/v3a-2martin.pdf