This week we are featuring our annual tribute to all things dairy, in honor of National Dairy Month and celebrating the families who work so hard to supply us with some of the best foods under the sun.

Not just cheese, butter and ice cream, though those are the top favorites at our house. But milk powder, baby formulas and more; the dairy industry helps feed their neighbors and the world.

For many West Side families, the dairy industry isn’t too far away from our daily lives. We all know someone who works in dairy. Our kids attend classes together and play sports together. Owners and workers alike are our friends and neighbors.

From dawn to dusk, and usually much later than that, they take care of business.

There are no sick days when animals have to be watered, milked and fed.

The responsibility of managing and raising healthy cows is enormous. And it isn’t just about production. It’s hard work, all day, every day. Rain or shine, no matter the circumstances, the first responsibility is to the cows. And it isn’t just the adults, but rather an all hands on deck approach, with every family member pitching in and doing what needs to be done.

I have yet to meet a dairy farmer who hadn’t stayed up all night nursing a sick calf, or worrying if a pregnant cow would make it through delivery. They worry about feed and silage crops, hay deliveries and milking times.

They innovate in the face of regulations that are beyond burdensome.

And they raise their families to know and care for something beyond themselves.

As a little girl, I used to take trips with my grandma and grandpa up to Willows to visit my great aunt and her family on their dairy. I would always be excited, because my Uncle Dan would let me feed the calves their bottles, and they would make me giggle when they would lick me when they were finished. Calf tongues are surprisingly ticklish!

What more could a 4-year-old girl want but to be surrounded by a crowd of baby calves mooing for attention… and milk.

But those days taught me good lessons. Caring for animals, that in turn provide for your family, is a worthwhile life’s work. It’s hard, hard work to be sure, and usually for little monetary reward. But the intangibles make it all worth it.

So the next time you see these dedicated people who work hard every day, rain or shine, or enjoy an ice cream cone on those triple digit days… thank a dairy family.

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On the heels of last month’s immigration report at the southern border, a couple of interesting moves have been made by both President Trump and the governments of Mexico and Guatemala.

News broke over the weekend of the Mexican government stopping four tractor trailer rigs holding over 800 migrants and their children on their way to the border. The drivers of the vehicles were arrested for human trafficking, and the migrants were taken to shelters to apply for asylum in Mexico. For the first time in recent memory, Mexico is actually enforcing their immigration laws. It was unsettling to many Mexican government officials, and the head of Mexico’s National Migration Institute resigned days after the agreement was announced.

Unfortunately Mexico is stuck between the cartels and a very determined President Trump. The time for shenanigans is done, and the government has to make a stand against this corruption destroying their country.

Included in the agreement is a commitment from Mexico to accept more migrants while awaiting asylum claims, as reported in a Yahoo news story stating “Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, Mexico agreed on June 7 to expand the program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or ‘Remain in Mexico,’ which forces mostly Central American asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. southern border to await the outcome of their U.S. asylum claims in Mexico.”

So much for all the hysterics of President Trump’s tariffs not having any effects.

A much bigger part of the announcement is deadlines for enforcement protocols and plans to include other Central and South American nations to deal regionally with the growing immigration problem.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard also announced that “if Mexico could not stem the flow of people, a regional system should be established to bind in other countries crossed by migrants en route to the United States, including Guatemala, Panama and Brazil.”

After this announcement, both Mexico and Guatemala have committed to being named “Safe Third” countries. Safe Third countries allow asylum seekers to safely apply for asylum in countries they are passing through without burdening overtaxed immigration courts in the United States. These courts are already backlogged two to three year on asylum cases....without accounting for the explosion of cases since the first caravans late last year.

It is not only the responsibility of the United States’ to stop the unimpeded flow of people through a minimum of three other sovereign nations on their way to the United States.

There can be discussions of economic aid after the burgeoning humanitarian crisis can be better contained. Until then…. just enforce the dang laws.

Border Patrol and Customs are massively overburdened, not just arresting those illegally entering, but dealing with Mexican cartel shootouts and a worsening medical crisis.

These problems are not going to get better, in fact conditions are worsening to the point that African Congo immigrants made their way to Central America, joining a caravan to enter the US illegally. And why shouldn’t they?

After transporting these immigrants, who came from a country experiencing a horrific Ebola crisis, they were given a choice of cities in which to live and sent with tickets in hand on their merry way.

No telling if they will show up for an immigration hearing three years from now. And since they speak French, Spanish translators weren’t much help in communicating necessary information. All asylum seekers are given food benefit cards, and registered for social services in the communities they eventually reside in, contrary to federal statute.

Of course, when President Trump announced that the government will now look to charge back U.S. sponsors of asylum seekers for any welfare benefits collected, the left lost their collective minds. Cries of “that’s not who we are” abounded.

Here is a simple fact. You can not have both an open border and generous welfare system available to anyone on American soil. Period.

It is step one to national suicide.

We have real problems at the border. It is a sad commentary that foreign nations are more inclined to help with solutions to benefit our nation than are the legislators whocurrently are in charge of the House of Representatives.

If Congress is so concerned with the plight of Central and South America, maybe they could take a look at passing the USMCA and help to position our country to benefit all the residents of the Americas, instead of their campaign accounts.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.