This is in response to "The politics of immigration during primary season" in the April 25 Hoard's Dairyman Intel discussing deportation. Every political season brings politicians seeking to arouse the voting public with their solutions. These are often polarizing issues. Unfortunately, most are half-truths.
The issue of immigration is no different.
First, we must accept that no presidential candidate is asking for the deportation of legal immigrants. Dairy leaders should be ashamed to employ half-truths in their arguments. To come to a definite fix to problems, we must first determine the problem.
The author states deportation as a concern along with the cost of enforcement. This is only a concern if you make it a practice to hire illegals. Just as we are to be good stewards of our farming practices, so should we be good citizens in our hiring practices.
The reality of it is that we never complain about the cost of enforcement of drug residue laws in milk or meat, or the proper application of farm waste. We certainly understand that if we violate these laws, there will be consequences. I would submit that it is your duty as a citizen of this nation to be aware of the laws that govern our country and hold yourself to a standard that ensures lawful hiring practices.
If your business model requires the use of illegal immigrant labor or you cannot afford to produce milk paying fair labor rates, then maybe the issue isn't immigration; it is your business model. I really think it is time for our milk co-ops and state and national dairy organizations to mandate their members to not hire undocumented workers and to declare publicly that our milk isn't produced with illegal labor.
- JR Burdick, Missouri
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
May 23, 2016