A Reader Smells Something Rotten in the Strawberry Fields


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A Brazilian Reader (In Brazil!)
Offers Friendship

From: [Name Withheld]

Re: Edwin S. Rubenstein`s Column:

Looking (in vain) for “Jobs Americans Won`t Do”

Here`s a story about

illegal alien labor
your readers might find
interesting, frustrating and amusing albeit in a
perverse way.

A few years back when my son was looking for work, he
came across an ad from a

strawberry patch
not too far from our home wherein
the owner was looking for

pickers
at $14 per hour for an 8-hour day.  Since
the job paid a good salary, my son gave him a call.

Here`s what happened.

It appeared that the owner was trying to do things
the right way by advertising for willing workers as is
required by

Department of Labor
(DOL) before he could be
certified to apply to the US Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) for a foreign-worker visa permit.

However, what the grower did, as I found out by
asking a few questions through my son, was turn down
anyone who said that they were a US citizen or had a

green card

His goal was to get a DOL certification for

foreign workers
.  In other words, he had to prove to
DOL that he had made an effort by placing an ad and that
no one had responded to it in a reasonable period of
time.

At the time, my son went to

school
with a Hispanic friend who agreed to pretend
to be illegal. He drove out to the patch and asked about
the job. But—surprise— he was told that the

wage
was $7 per hour for a 14-hour day!

My son`s friend told them that he had several friends
and would be back. Of course, he never returned because
he is a US citizen and also didn`t want to pick
strawberries—at least not at that

wage and for that many hours
!

So even

employers
who pretend to follow the rules actually
don`t.