Monday, April 17, 2006

So It Begins

Spring is here and with it the cycle of crop harvest begins. My question is, who is going to pick the apples for American Pie?
YAKIMA, Wash. — While much of the country frets about too many illegal immigrants, farmers in this famed apple-growing region east of the Cascade Range complain they can no longer find enough.

During the last two years, Yakima-area apple growers were so short of the migrant field hands they rely on to prune and pick their prized crop that a few brought in workers from Thailand.

Others said they never did find enough workers and watched in anguish as precious fruit was left dangling on trees.

This summer, with farmers expecting a bountiful apple crop, they also predict that the worker shortage will worsen, threatening a hand-harvesting industry valued at more than $1.5 billion in Washington state. In the last big-crop year, growers employed an estimated 42,300 seasonal apple workers, according to state officials.

"I hear people saying, 'We don't have enough workers now,' " said family apple farmer Larry Knudson. And April is a slow month, he added. "If that's now, what is it going to be like when we ratchet up our seasonal programs in June?"

Washington State is only one of many examples where the "harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few" to take a Biblical phrase literally (the wingnuts do it, why can't I?) Expect to see conditions strain within the citrus industry, especially as the ink from the Georgia governor's pen dries on their latest "Yoe kind aint welcome hea" legislation.

The law requires verification that adults seeking many state-administered benefits are in the country legally. It sanctions employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants and mandates that companies with state contracts check the immigration status of employees.

The law also requires police to check the immigration status of people they arrest.


Nope, that won't encourcage racial profiling. If there's a silver lining to this all, at least Georgia can ensure for generations to come that they will remain on par with the rest of the country for minority incarcerations levels.

Bless their hearts...

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