Minor Thoughts from me to you

Immigration and Unintended Consequences

Many people want to limit immigration in order to provide more jobs to Americans. They theorize that without lots of immigrants willing to work for cheap labor, farmers and businesses will be forced to employ more Americans, at higher wages.

It's a nice theory. But that's all it is. The law of unintended consequences applies even to immigration policy. Rather than accepting a loss of Mexican field hands, farmers are being to move their fields to Mexico.

Steve Scaroni, a farmer from California, looked across a luxuriant field of lettuce here in central Mexico and liked what he saw: full-strength crews of Mexican farm workers with no immigration problems.

Farming since he was a teenager, Mr. Scaroni, 50, built a $50-million business growing lettuce and broccoli in California's Imperial Valley, relying on the hands of immigrant workers, most of them Mexicans and many probably in the United States illegally.

But early last year he began shifting part of his operation to rented fields here. Now some 500 Mexicans tend his crops in Mexico, where they run no risk of deportation.

"I'm as American red-blood as it gets," Mr. Scaroni said, "but I’m tired of fighting the fight on the immigration issue."