Garance Burke of the AP swallows grower propaganda till, tractor, and plow in "California farmers gear up to champion new guest worker bill". She also reveals that CA Senator Dianne Feinstein and Idaho Senator Larry Craig will be introducing a new farmworker amnesty scheme tomorrow. It appears to be a new version of AgJobs, and:
The bill would create a pilot program allowing people who have worked in agriculture for at least 150 days a year for three years, or 100 days per year for five years, to apply for a green card. It would grant legal status to no more than 1.5 million workers over five years, some of whom could apply for citizenship.
The rest of the article consists of growers making unopposed statements that strain credulity; see the "crops rotting in the fields" series for past examples. It also contains this statement that's wrong for one reason and raises questions for another:
Growers and farm worker advocates don't agree on how to fix a system that has allowed an estimated 12 million immigrants to enter the country illegally.
First, as the list of AgJobs endorsers (fourth link above) shows, those two nominally opposed forces have found common ground with this massive amnesty. Second, the "fix" needed are investigations of donations made to politicians and whether those have any bearing on those politicians then refusing to enforce our laws or supporting efforts not to enforce them. Whether Burke realizes this, or whether she thinks that new legislation would solve the problem isn't clear.
Then, we get this Feinstein quote:
"Virtually everybody agrees that agriculture is an industry that cannot do well without the undocumented worker... And the people are coming to the realization that there won't be a comprehensive immigration bill. The first step was taken with the border security bill. (A guest worker program) is the next logical step."
It's good to see that she's admitting defeat on "comprensive reform". However, her first statement is shown to be false (intentionally?) by the next paragraphs:
In the meantime, Chiesa has already started pulling up some of his peach trees and replanting rows of almond and walnut trees, which can be harvested by machines instead of people.
Maybe Feinstein should lead the way towards reviving research into mechanization rather than encouraging the importation of a third world serf class.
UPDATE: This apparent rewrite has more on those involved:
Among those supporting the bill are Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a chief architect of last year's Senate immigration bill, and Sens. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Mel Martinez, R-Fla... Reps. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, and Howard Berman, D-Calif., are sponsoring the House version. It has the backing of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn. and Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida, a member of the Republican leadership team.
Immigration · Tue, 01/09/2007 - 13:37 · Importance: 4