3 minute read

For example, I bet there's a long line of good ol' american workers who would love to have solid, agriculture jobs in Florida, like the one described in this article:

Fruit-pickers, who typically earn about US$200 a week, are part of an unregulated system designed to keep food prices low and the plates of the US’s overweight families piled high. The migrants, largely Hispanic and with many of them from Mexico, are the last wretched link in a long chain of exploitation and abuse. They are paid US45c for every 14.5kg bucket of tomatoes collected. A worker has to pick nearly 2 1/2 tonnes of tomatoes - a near impossibility - in order to reach minimum wage.

And if the sub-minimum-wage salary isn't enough to make your mouth water, check out the housing and board benefits!

Three Florida fruit-pickers, held captive and brutalised by their employer for more than a year, finally broke free by punching their way through the ventilator hatch of the van in which they were imprisoned. Once outside, they dashed for freedom.

When they found sanctuary one recent Sunday morning, all bore the marks of heavy beatings to the head and body. One of the pickers had a nasty, untreated knife wound on his arm. Police would learn later that another man's hands were being chained behind his back every night to prevent him escaping, leaving his wrists swollen.

The migrants were not only forced to work in sub-human conditions but mistreated and forced into debt. They were locked up at night and had to pay for sub-standard food. If they took a shower with a garden hose or bucket, it cost them US$5 ($6.60). [...]

The complaint shows the men were forced to pay rent of US$20 a week to sleep in a locked furniture van where they had no option but to urinate and defecate in a corner. They had to pay US$50 a week for meals - mostly rice and beans with meat perhaps twice a week if they were lucky.

If immigration is to be a "hot topic" for this election cycle, I really hope someone brings a hint of reality to it.