A reader writes:
Funny you write that you got an earful down in Orange County. So did I last week when I was up in Napa and the Central Valley - and I bet what I heard, from two local farmers, was the diametric opposite of what you heard in Newport Beach. One held up a fancy white peach to me and said: "Today, you can buy this for about 35 cents in the Safeway. If I were paying my fieldworkers a regular minimum wage and benefits to care for and harvest that peach, it would cost you about $1.50. These people ought to think about that before they start raging against the immigration bill."
He's right of course, these workers contribute to the wealth and prosperity of the rest of us quite directly - they fill water in our restaurants, wash our cars, trim our lawns, harvest our produce. What irritates me about this entire debate is how these workers are demonized and abused. It's sickening, really - it brings out the worst in people, and increasingly it brings out sickening racism. We need to remember that these "illegal immigrants" are first and foremost fellow human beings, and then that they're here doing a lot of things we don't want to dirty our hands with. We can choose to expell them or to put all sorts of limitations on their stay with us, but we should do it while treating them with dignity and maintaining a sense of justice and fairness. I wonder if all those Bible-thumpers in the anti-immigration crowd have ever taken out the good book and read Leviticus 19:33-34? It's the Lord speaking, incidentally.
(Photo: David McNew/Getty.)