Why The Congress Needs To Pass Immigration Reform. Now.
A WHKP Station Editorial
June 24, 2013
The US Senate will begin voting on comprehensive, landmark immigration reform later today. America needs this reform to be approved by the Senate, then to be approved by the House, then to be signed into law by the president.
If you have any doubts about the need for immigration reform, talk to any farmer…any farmer who grows apples, tomatoes, beans, berries, or any other crop that requires manual labor and harvesting…right here in Henderson County. You don’t even need to TALK to these farmers…just drive by any apple orchard, tomato or bean or corn field…the ONLY available labor working in these fields, other than those hard-working families who own and operate the farms, are Hispanics. These people, many of them illegals, are literally feeding our country.
It may not be “politically correct” to say, but our myriad of overly-generous social welfare programs in this country has made it unnecessary for white folks, black folks, or any other legal Americans who qualify for all these programs to work at “hard labor” jobs in our nation’s farm fields any longer. Growers are left with NO CHOICE but to rely on illegals, mostly Hispanics…not because they are cheap labor, but because they are the ONLY available labor. And we can tell you, growers live in fear everyday of an ICE unit descending on their fields, rounding up the illegal labor, then leaving their crops to die on the vine. Every local farmer we know is trying hard to comply with the law, and even without an ICE invasion, our current immigration laws are stifling the supply of available labor to the point where one local grower was forced to leave 20 per cent of a recent bumper crop of tomatoes to die on the vine…there was not enough available labor, legal OR illegal, to pick it.
In all fairness, the Hispanics we know go through a hell most of us can’t imagine just to get INTO this country, just to do honest work, just to earn more money than they could ever dream about back home, just to have a chance for a better life, to have a shot at the “American dream”.
We understand all the concerns about securing our borders, about dangerous criminals and terrorists slipping into our country, about our schools, hospitals, and social programs being flooded by these immigrants. But the immigration bill now before the Senate...all 1100 pages of it...has been amended, revised, strengthened, and strengthened some more…all to make it tighter, our borders more secure, and to deal with all these legitimate concerns as effectively as possible.
Some of the bill’s critics say it “amnestry”..plain and simple. Maybe it is. But we say, America NEEDS these immigrants…and frankly, we need their LABOR. In exchange for planting and harvesting our crops, for cleaning our hotel rooms, for mowing our lawns, for digging our ditches, for washing our cars…for all the jobs that legal Americans don’t need to do anymore and WON’T do because so much is being GIVEN to them WITHOUT working for it…we believe the illegals, mostly Hispanics, DESERVE a “pathway” to citizenship…and they deserve to do the hard work they do, that our fellow Americans will NO LONGER do, without having to live in fear that ICE will scoop them up, put them in jail, then deport them back across the border.
There is always a chance that when all these “illegals” BECOME “legal” and qualify for all our ever-growing and expanding social welfare programs, they too won’t need to do the manual labor anymore. But frankly, the work ethic we see in many of these illegals is the type of HARD work ethic that we saw DISAPPEAR in many Americans a generation ago. It’s a chance we’re going to have to take.
We hope that both North Carolina’s U.S. Senators, Hagan and Burr, vote FOR this immigration reform bill. And that Congressman Meadows will support it, or something like it, when it gets to the House. The time has come, the need is now, and it’s as urgent as any farmer in Henderson County can tell you.
As always, we invite your comments…on our comments
By WHKP News Director Larry Freeman