Letters to the Editor

Texas congressman disputes story

The article "Border effort against Mexicans works, as fewer cross and more are deported" (Aug. 12, Page A-12), by The Associated Press, contained an exaggerated statement for which the writer gave no supporting evidence.

The writer stated "fields are empty at harvest time as workplace raids become common." The opposite is true -- crops are being harvested and workplace raids are not common, though American workers would benefit if they were.

In addition, despite the dire predictions of crops rotting in the fields due of lack of farm labor, even the U.S. Department of Agriculture can't point to any confirmed reports of such crop losses.

There are more than 7 million illegal immigrants working in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for investigating businesses that hire illegal labor, fined only four employers for hiring illegal immigrants in 2005 (the last year for which figures are available). If workplace raids were "common," as the author suggests, the number of fines would be much higher.

With respect to the implied labor shortage, there is no lack of farm labor that a decent wage, the use of legal temporary workers and mechanization of harvesting crops won't cure.

LAMAR SMITH

member of Congress (R-Texas)

Washington, D.C.

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