Help Wanted

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 10:15am
John Kushma

Help Wanted


Many Americans think that immigrants are “taking away our jobs”.  This mantra unfortunately falls in line with the broad stroke myth and prejudicial generalizations that these “illegals” are mostly thieves, drug dealers, murderers and rapists.  Many Americans, including our president, want to build walls to keep them out.


Don’t let the lynch mob headlines corrupt your thinking.  These new immigrants for the most part not only represent new blood infused into a dying America, they represent new voters with fresh eyes and ideas.     


There is a widespread immigration problem in this country, and many countries, but still, you can’t help feeling for them.  The jobs these immigrants perform, however, are necessary, no, critical, to our economy and lifestyle.  There are immigration laws regarding visas, “green card” work permits and dependents, and the issue with the “Dreamers” has its own legal and emotional complexities, but while the bureaucrats, administrators and law enforcement count heads, heads of lettuce may be rotting in the ground not making it to our grocery stores.  


Or, we will have to grow and harvest our own individual lettuce ..lettuces ..lettucei?  Whichever, I like my lettuce.      


It’s easy to get lost and become flummoxed by the crime ratio statistics regarding convictions of immigrants to U.S. citizens, and even easier to adjust the statistics to the preferential leanings of your favorite political news source whether it be Breitbart and Fox, or NPR and PBS ..the Times, Post, USA Today or Rolling Stone, but the fact remains that the jobs these immigrants are “taking away” from us are jobs not many of us would even think of doing, or even could do.


I’m not sure just how the new White House regulations are affecting the balance of employment regarding these jobs that are done mostly by immigrants, but here’s a typical want ad appearing in more U.S. newspapers these days:


Help Wanted:  Temporary need from 2/25/18 thru 11/16/18.  Full-time, seasonal, temporary produce workers needed.  Requirements:  a minimum of three (3) months experience in harvesting, planting and pruning.  Workers must be able to perform manual as well as mechanized activities with accuracy and efficiency.  Workers should be able to work on their feet in bent positions for long periods of time, work requires repetitive movements and extensive walking, temperatures can range from 10 degrees F to 100 degrees F.  To provide a safe and healthy crop, workers will be trained in USDA Gap certification standards and must abide by those standards advising supervisor of bleeding cuts, open wounds sores, illness and following rules of hygiene practices, etc.  Workers seeking employment must be available for the entire period requested by the employer.  Pruning of trees using hand pruners, workers must be able to handle ladders which e 12 foot in length and weigh 40 lbs.  Climbing up and down, pruning of trees using pneumatics consisting of an 8 foot pole while dragging an airline.  Stacking tree limbs, planting trees, shoveling soil, applying fertilizer, picking up rocks, pulling weeds, irrigation, thinning fruit from ladder, harvesting sweet and tart cherries, peaches, apples, picking fruit per instructions of supervisor, carrying a picking bucket while full of fruit for up to 8 hours a day.  Driving harvesting equipment, must be able to work in hot, dry, dusty, noisy, cold, wet, snowy conditions, must be able to lift and carry up to 70 lbs., be able to follow instructions of job requirements, have ability to problem solve.  Will work 40 hrs/wk, Mon.-Fri., wage is $10.38/hr.  Workers must work at a sustained vigorous pace on their feet in bent positions for long periods of time.  Absences from work/or failure to perform required tasks will not be tolerated.  The job entails working outdoors in isolated areas for long periods of time in all weather conditions and occasional exposure to hazards such as poisonous snakes.  Interested applicants must submit resume with past experience.


So, all you complainers out there about immigrants taking our jobs, get your resumes in now ...or shut up and be grateful for your good fortune to have these hard-working, appreciative folks do your hard work for you ...pick your fruit, harvest your vegetables, make your beds, wash your dishes, clean you bathrooms, watch your kids. your tunnels, bridges and railroads ...your homes.


Not to mention the immigrants who will operate on your heart, teach your children, fly your aircraft, judge your intentions, defend your rights, fight for your country.       


When Emma Lazarus wrote, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”, my grandfather  probably had no idea that was written on a plate at the foot of the Statue of Liberty as he entered New York harbor that frozen January morning in 1918.  But he knew what he had to do, and this was the place to do it.  He felt welcome here, and he appreciated it.  America had his back.  And he worked his back, in a coal mine in Brier Hill, Pennsylvania digging out coal not picking vegetables, but he was an immigrant jut like your grandparents, just like these new immigrants ...and just like you, they are the reason you are even here.


So, imagine yourself in your grandparents’ situation, and the situation and mindset of our new immigrants today.  Consider all this, and pass it forward when trying to wrap your intellect around the “immigration problem” and remember who you are and act accordingly ...and where your lettuce comes from.  


It’s a matter of conscience.          



John Kushma is a communication consultant and lives in Logan, Utah.