Your recent article, "Labor shortages plague farms," (July 7) states the plight of American farmers. What it does not address is that these farmers have become so accustomed to breaking the law to get cheap labor that they think they have a right to it. For decades they have been hiring illegal immigrants to get an unfair advantage over those who choose to abide by the law or have such small operations that they do not hire non-family members.

They complain that they can not find American workers to do these jobs although we have high unemployment. This stems from the fact they only want to pay illegal-immigrant-level wages and that those with access to our welfare programs find that easier than working low-wage hard farm jobs. If employers were forced to hire legal workers they would have to pay higher wages, and the cost of our food and other products would go up.

On the other hand we would no longer be providing benefits to illegal immigrants, the cost of our welfare programs would go down, and those Americans who took those jobs would enjoy a sense of self-worth. Hiring Americans would be a win-win-win situation.

Russ Swatek, Columbia