Posted by: bridget | 26 January 2007

California Citrus Crop Ruined; Illegals Still Get Paid

After a week of abnormally cold weather, California’s citrus crop has been destroyed. Cali is the second-largest supplier of citrus to the United States, behind Florida. Prices have already increased: orange juice at Trader Joe’s is up to $7/gallon. Thousands of farm workers have been laid off. Their unemployment benefits will cease when they earn more than $25/week, although state lawmakers are attempting to raise that limit to $200/week.

While it should be controversial, Schwarzenegger is moving to offer unemployment insurance to all affected workers, regardless of immigration status. So, illegal immigrants are now eligible for taxpayer-sponsored unemployement insurance when their services are no longer needed. The weak justification for illegal immigration is that Americans need those people to work in the agricultural industry. Unemployment insurance is justified not on compassionate grounds, but on the idea that it may be less expensive for our government to pay unemployment than to have people live in poverty between jobs, with all the associated social ills. Money is also recycled throughout our economy: funds given to unemployed Americans are used for food and rent. Now that we don’t need illegals – and Americans are looking for jobs in the industry, there is little reason to keep them in this country. If Schwarzenegger would like to do them a favour, he should give them bus tickets home. Turning a blind eye while they take jobs from Americans, subvert minimum wage and fair labour laws (to the detriment of businesses that follow said laws), and drive up costs in a variety of sectors (such as health care) is bad enough; paying them to be here illegally is asinine, especially when most of that money will never stay in America.

Unemployment insurance does not rain from the sky; it comes from taxpayers. Either taxes will be increased or money will be reallocated from other programmes. Does Gov. Schwarzenegger want to eliminate free school lunches for kids who cannot afford them? efforts to fight wildfires, mudslides, and the host of other environmental disasters indigenous to California? reduce funds for environmental protection? For government spending is a zero sum game: monies that go to one good cause are taken from another arena, or taxes are raised. “Compassionate” efforts to be nice to illegal immigrants does not change the reality that no government can fund its projects on good intentions alone, but rather derives its income from citizens.


  1. Living in California is like living in a bowl of granola…what ain’t fruits and nuts is flakes.
    And, with taxpayer money.

    Thanks for this post.

  2. Yeah, well, at least the proposed spanking and trans fat bans don’t use taxpayer money. (Eye roll)

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