Actually, the labor cost of a head of lettuce is a small fraction of it's retail price. It's been shown that doubling farmworker wages would add about 15 cents to the price of a head of lettuce. The simple reason that agribusiness uses squat labor is due to the commodity nature of the business and the fact that since the labor is available, why buy machines? The machines you allege to be invented have already been invented, as far back as the '50s: tomato and lettuce pickers . But further refinement of them was quashed at U. of California in the early '70's at the insistence of the UFW to Jerry Brown and the CA Dems (i.e., the program was de-funded). Why? Because the UFW knew even then that farm work in California is nothing more than a make work program for Mexico.
And that's the short answer to everything: all of this is happening because Mexico has a stratospheric birth rate, with no economy to employ them. And never will, for a variety of reasons. But apparently no one in the respective governments wants rebellion in Mexico, which is exactly what SHOULD happen. So Mexico exports its population (it's the only thing they actually know how to make), and the U.S. accepts it, in the interests of political stability...in Mexico.
And guess which people get stuck with the ultimate costs.
Of course it does. I was in the community hospital a while back. Emergency room was packed with people who spoke no english. The family arriving just before me had the children translating: They were in the er, because they had a cough. Apparently, they are too poor to to go the drug store and buy a box of cough syrup.
We have to end subsidizing these people. When you can walk all over an existing population, the walkers (illegals)have no respect for the walkees (citizens), or the government handing it to them.
But further refinement of them was quashed at U. of California in the early '70's at the insistence of the UFW to Jerry Brown and the CA Dems (i.e., the program was de-funded). Why? Because the UFW knew even then that farm work in California is nothing more than a make work program for Mexico.
More interesting info. I was up in Stockton in the early 70s when Chavez pulled the workers out on strike at the height of harvest season. The brains at U.C. Davis cames up with a mechanized asparagus cutter in three weeks(!). A reporter from Texas told me that Chavez was against importing illegals since it lowered the already-low farm wages. Don't know if he was in power at the time you mention - maybe he "saw the light" and stopped fighting. This looks like an area Arnold should look into.
During the NAFTA discussions I talked with a small farm machinery manufacturer who had a wall full of plaques for his inventions. One of 'em was to automatically peel the oranges for those you see in cans. That blew my mind until he told me about his machine to pluck stems and leaves from strawberries for God's sake.
Couldn't sell the machines as the Mexicans had 12 people to a table pulling them out by hand. He visited some of their sweat shops and one manager said that they actually paid only two or three of those people the 12c an hour wage. The others were kids and grandparents who worked for free - that was the deal if the parents wanted a job. The guy told him it would cost more to wash down his machine at the end of the day than to pay manual labor. No wonder they come up here.
Sounds like we have some pretty inventive people who are being suppressed by the farm labor organizations and the governments, state and federal, turn a blind eye to that situation also. Probably something Tancredo should start talking about to stir the pot even more.
Mexico is an embarrasment to the American ideology. How is it possible that we preach free markets, democracy and freedom to the world while our neighbor and our 2nd closest trading partner has all these things and is one of the most corrupt nations on earth?
We're in a catch-22: If the Mexicans rebel, it likely will be to install socialism (see PRD, a bunch of Castro lovers) and to enter an era of protectionism.
Actually it would probably be nicer if it DIDN'T happen but the massive migration of people out of Mexico is actually leading to a lot of instability and making everything worse. If they stayed, they would be there to push for reforms but by leaving the reforms aren't going to happen and things are going into a downward spiral.