News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some US farms outsourced to Mexico

By JESSICA BERNSTEINWAX,Associated Press Writer AP - Tuesday, May 27

IRAPUATO, Mexico - Antonio Martinez used to pay smugglers thousands of dollars each year to sneak him into the United States to manage farm crews. Now, the work comes to him.

Supervising lettuce pickers in central Mexico, Martinez earns just half of the $1,100 a week he made in the U.S. But the job has its advantages, including working without fear of immigration raids.

Martinez, now a legal employee of U.S.-owned VegPacker de Mexico, is exactly the kind of worker more American farm companies are seeking. Many have moved their fields to Mexico, where they can find qualified people, often with U.S. experience, who can't be deported.

"Because I never moved my family to the U.S., I was always alone there," said Martinez, 45, who could never get a work permit, even after 16 years in agriculture in California and Arizona. "When I got the opportunity to be close to my family, doing similar work, I didn't even have to think about it."

American companies now farm more than 45,000 acres of land in three Mexican states, employing about 11,000 people, a 2007 survey by the U.S. farm group Western Growers shows.

There were no earlier studies to document how much the acreage has grown. But U.S. direct investment in Mexican agriculture, which includes both American companies moving their operations to Mexico and setting up Mexican partnerships, has swelled sevenfold to $60 million since 2000, Mexico's Economy Department told The Associated Press.

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