Immigrant labor in agriculture helps keep food prices low

Over the past months, I've greatly appreciated the Monitor's balanced coverage of the immigration quandary, but I take issue with some generalizations in your recent editorials about illegal immigrants taking jobs readily offered by people here in the US and about the suppression of wages caused by the low pay illegals will accept.

Speaking from the viewpoint of agriculture - particularly dairy farming - it's nearly impossible to find people to milk cows. Dairy farmers would rather not deal with language differences, which make training milkers very difficult. But Hispanic workers are those willing to do the work.

And in terms of illegal migrants keeping wages low - farmers usually don't have control of what they receive for their product, and the price received for milk is at times equal to the price received many years ago, while cost of production continues to soar. Farmers offer pay that they can afford while trying to break even.

I read that an estimated one-quarter of agricultural workers are illegals. In California and the Southwest, I bet it's a far higher percentage. Send these folks home, and you will watch your food prices soar.
Elvira Kau
Jefferson, Wis.

Mining data may nab the wrong people

Regarding the May 15 article, "Mining data to nab terrorists: fair?": It is easy to say "I don't have anything to hide, and the government can use my phone records without my knowing it." But you don't control who calls you. What if a terrorist, just to derail any pattern-setting tracking, calls 10 innocent persons and says only, "Wrong number, sorry"? Or what if he or she calls 10 company switchboards, or calls the publicly available numbers of 10 congressmen? Provided no wiretapping occurs, you and the companies and congressmen are - innocently - already in the National Security Agency-established call pattern.

And if the NSA questions you two months later asking, "Who called you from the number 'x' two months ago?" - you won't be able to tell them. What's next then?

Why does it seem the government presumes that terrorists can't set up their own reliable communication network using cash or phone cards and public phones? This kind of data mining from phone records is dubious, costly, and useless.
János Samu
Kalaheo, Hawaii

Faith should not be for public display

Regarding the May 11 article, "Football team wears faith on its sleeve": I am disgusted with this public merging of sports and religion because it imposes one person's religion on others who may not feel the same way.

If these sports figures feel the desire or need to pray or give thanks after a game, they should do it in the privacy of the locker room. What are they trying to prove and to whom? Such displays look like "religion as fraternity" and not "religion as a way of life."

I believe this religious exhibitionism represents exactly what the Founding Fathers were trying to prevent. I have long felt uncomfortable with all the references by sports figures that they owe "all" to God, etc.

When I was in high school, Congress stuck "under God" into the pledge of allegiance. Even at that young age, without discussing it with anyone, I refused to say it.

Religion should be exemplified in how one lives one's life - doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I find these public exhibitions of religion to be totally inappropriate in American life.
Roz Mandelcorn
Los Angeles

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