Letter to the editor: ‘Border integrity’ called essential

Regarding the Ways of Seeing article by Laurie Cox in the July 8 Addison Independent, “Migrant Workers are essential,” this should have been titled, more honestly, “Migrant Workers are essential to the luxury we enjoy of purchasing what we want, when we want, at artificially low prices enabled by our choice to allow foreign nationals to breach our borders and live in our country illegally, so that we can force them to accept wages and working conditions we do not accept ourselves.”

The core issue is that we are not willing to pay the real cost of food production. Ms. Cox betrays this unwitting agenda held by many when she admits “ …whether legally or not … [illegal migrants] are essential to … the luxury of … [purchasing] what we want when we want it, [at artificially low prices].” This admits our choice to not only allow but now support the breaching of our borders, expenditure of hard won tax dollars for social benefits of people residing illegally in the U.S., and continuation of working conditions which, if referenced to our own people, would be judged as unsafe, inhumane and unsustainable.

Ms. Cox’s encouragement that we should “… let them have a full and open life within our communities … it doesn’t need to be political …” encourages erosion of one of the most basic tenets of our nation, that of border integrity, a hot topic for sure, yet as clearheaded thinking will confirm, a necessary function in the long run. Ms. Cox says “It can be about being humane …” If we were honestly willing to be humane, we would step up and pay the price of production required in order to pay a living wage to our own people to produce our food. Many people are interested in agriculture as meaningful work, being outdoors instead of at an office desk, and who would be very happy to make a living wage producing our food.

Our choice to pay less than a living wage to our own people, while encouraging foreign nationals to risk life and limb to slave for us in conditions we ourselves would not accept, is equivalent to our choice to send jobs off shore, as in the clothing and other industries overseas where sweatshops are staffed by women and young children in filthy, unsafe conditions at wages which barely sustain hand-to-mouth survival. Likewise our choice to subsidize the cost of the electronic goods, and now electric vehicles, which depend on the mining of precious metals by children in squalid and dangerous conditions. Ms. Cox’s encouragement of illegal aliens as agricultural workers confirms our commitment to trading the undervalued lives of others for low priced goods we value above those lives, an immoral act.

Nick McDougal


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