Agriculture's Big Picture
AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.
A Word on Immigration and World Cup Soccer
Jun 22, 2010
Umm, They’re Illegal, Right?
The town of Fremont, Neb., voted in favor of a proposed law to ban the hiring of or renting housing to illegal immigrants. It’s making national news.
Indulge me for a moment, but this issue does take some actual thought that it seems neither side is even remotely close to thinking about and the talking heads on TV refuse to acknowledge. The views are divergent, but they are not “out there.”
First, why is it wrong to make it illegal to hire people who are not here legally? Isn’t hiring illegal aliens by definition, well, illegal?
In this job, I have had the opportunity to travel across the globe to see various forms of agriculture. This has included several trips to Western Europe, multiple trips to Brazil and one trip to Ukraine. Everywhere I went, it was made very clear to me: If you’re an American, take your passport and your visa (if one is required in the country) whenever you are out. In other words, carry your papers so you are documented.
In Ukraine, we always felt the presence of the local police (armed with automatic rifles) walking the streets. They could tell our group was filled with Americans (passports at the ready), and they stared us down every time. The convenience stores were very modern, very clean. But the rifle-toting security guards did not allow us to use the restrooms each time we stopped. Why? Because they could. They had very large, very high-caliber rifles. We would find a tree or pay $1 to use much less-modern facilities.
When I have visited Brazil, I have had to bring notarized letters stating that I am not going to Brazil to purchase farmland, I would not do any technical work while I was there, and numerous other promises under threat of criminal action. It is Brazil’s law and their rules. I even had to produce these documents at one point to a police officer. No big deal, I was there legally and doing nothing wrong.
Now, on the other hand, why does Fremont, Neb., need to pass a law like this? They have multiple meatpacking plants, which means multiple jobs. Thing is, I haven’t ever seen Americans pounding down the doors to work at these jobs, and somebody has to. If we continue driving people who are happy to get a paycheck out of our country, who will do these jobs? What could the future mean for agriculture if we suddenly have nobody in this country willing to work on the cutline at packing plants?
China recently decided to let its currency fluctuate with the market conditions. Experts feel this could help exports.
This Soccer Thing? I Don’t Get It
France is on the verge of national revolt over the dismissal of a player from its World Cup soccer team. One of their players had some not-so-nice things to say to their coach after a loss to Mexico. If they get to full revolt, will the problem become that neither side will be able to surrender first?
Roundup Resistance Makes the Big News
Weeds resistant to Roundup are making the national news, thanks to an AP story that came out yesterday. The news is calling it an environmental threat. What do you think?