Keith Eckel owns a business that produces tomatoes. So many tomatoes that he is claimed to be the largest producer in Pennsylvania. But Eckel claims to have a problem. He claims that come harvest time he won't have the labor needed to pick the tomatoes because Congress didn't give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
Eckel now says that he's going into producing corn. The reason he claims is that he can harvest it mechanically. There is no word on why a mechanized processes for harvesting tomatoes hasn't been produced, but that's probably because farmers have been using illegal alien slave labor for so long that they have decided it's cheaper to just continue on that route rather than innovate.
I feel there is a little more to this story though. Eckel is probably making a gamble on the ethanol business and believes that he can make more with corn for bio-fuels than he can by continuing to sell tomatoes (and yes I came up with that theory on my own when first reading the story, but on researching this entry realize others have concluded the same). He just felt like making a political point on his way into gambling so that he has an excuse later if his little gamble fails.
Philadelphia Inquirer story that concentrates a little too much on pushing the amnesty agenda in the article.
Fearing that the labor needed to harvest his tomatoes won't be there when he needs it, Eckel announced yesterday that after decades of growing tomatoes, he was calling it quits.
He placed the blame squarely at the feet of Congress and its failure to enact what he called a meaningful immigration reform measure.
Last year, Eckel employed 180 people, but this spring, when he plants crops that can be handled by machines, he will employ five.
"No one will harvest tomatoes in 90 degree weather except immigrant labor," he said.
Although his workers have documents proving that they are legal, Eckel said some estimates show that between 60 percent and 70 percent of the documents are fraudulent.
This is the type of guy who has profited off of illegal labor and perpetuated its massive growth. Now he is crying because laws are being enforced. I have no sympathy for him or those of his ilk.
Someone remind me about all those government funds going to spur growth for bio-fuels... and how much is Eckel getting?
Tipped by: Freedom Folks
Well historically speaking - before the Mexicans - there were lots of other people farming these lands in 90 degree heat. Take for example this 1904 article in the NY Times regarding the lack of Negro labor in the South!
And here is a little history of agriculture in this country. Early migrant workers were workers who were citizens who "migrated" with the crop. So it's not true that only "immigrants" are willing to harvest tomatoes in 90 degree heat.
In the United States, peak labor requirements of intensive crops have often drawn seasonal laborers from beyond the immediate vicinity. Fruit, truck, and berry crops in particular have induced heavy migration. Curiously, it was a field crop—wheat—which caused one of the largest and best known of American periodic rural migrations.
Some of the migrants moved all the way from Oklahoma and Texas to the Dakotas and Canada. But, as Lescohier has pointed out, there were several more restricted routes of migration, which were followed by a majority of the harvesters. The major portion of the harvest in each State was performed by men who migrated only within the State. The migration of another large group of men took place within the limits of the winter Wheat Belt, from Texas to Nebraska, and still another large group moved only through the spring Wheat Belt of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Canada.
The harvest hands were men, traveling by train. Years before the war one could see the freights in July moving slowly through Sioux City into the Dakotas, the roofs and doorways of boxcars literally black with men en route to the wheat fields
So clearly, these were AMERICANS harvesting our crops and there are STILL AMERICANS who would harvest our crops IF they are paid a LIVABLE AMERICAN WAGE.
Posted by: Ruthiness on April 2, 2008 06:48 PM