October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The subject I want to talk about today is very controversial. I have commented on it before and always got into trouble. Governor Rick Perry tried to put Mitt Romney on the defensive in the Republican Campaign for President by accusing him of hiring an illegal immigrant to mow his yard.

Rick Perry has been criticized because in Texas he signed a law allowing children that were brought here by their parents illegally to go to college at the same in-state rate as other resident children.

Alabama passed a law which requires schools to determine if enrolled students who were born outside the U.S. are the children of illegal immigrants. And now, all across the state, students – out of fear of deportation, are not showing up for school.

My first reaction is – with our country deep in debt, with the world economy at risk of collapse, with unrest in the Middle East threatening our oil supply – why is this illegal immigration issue in the headlines?

I guess it is in the headlines because, in an economy with high unemployment, a lot of people feel that illegals are stealing the jobs. A lot of our citizens think illegals should be shipped back where they came from because they broke the law. They didn’t come here legally.

However, a fact that is often not appreciated is that without the illegals, who would pick the strawberries? Who would butcher the hogs? Who would milk the cows? Who would roof the houses?

Don’t even suggest that we have our own citizens standing in line to do it. They won’t do it. It is estimated that two-thirds of the 1.8 million hired farm workers in the U.S. are not authorized to be here.

We may not like the choice but we desperately need to deal with this problem. Do we want our food production to go offshore and then import the food? No. We need legislation to fix our problem. That legislation should make it possible for families that have been here for decades to become legal.

And we need guest worker programs to supplement our workforce. But, as I said, we may not like this choice, but that’s what we must do. We’re not going to deport 12 million people.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.