Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack held a press conference on Wednesday in which he demeaned American workers, promoted immigration "reform", opposed immigration enforcement, and used a series of bogus immigration talking points.
An account of his remarks is here, with more excerpts at .
1. Vilsack ran down American workers, saying: "While some American citizens step up and take (farm) jobs, the truth is even when farmers make their best effort to recruit a domestic workforce, few citizens express interest. In large part that's because this is hard, tough work." The idea that growers want to recruit Americans is more than a bit dubious; many run down American workers as much as Vilsack. Growers tend to prefer lower-wage, more compliant illegal aliens. And, we sent a man to the moon and won World War II, now Vilsack falsely says that most Americans don't want hard work. That's also more than a bit dubious because a good percentage of those doing farm work are in fact Americans. And, there's the fact that the presence of large numbers of illegal aliens tends to reduce farm wages at the same time as decreasing safety in farm jobs.
The pro-American alternative would be for Vilsack to oppose illegal immigration and push something like this plan to get unemployed Americans working temporary farm jobs until the economy improves. That would answer the labor shortage complaints of farmers, improve working conditions on farms, and would save money overall (considering that most of those unemployed will be getting unemployment insurance and considering the costs of illegal aliens).
2. Vilsack supported comprehensive immigration reform, aka amnesty. See the link for the downsides of that plan .
3. One of the key selling points of immigration "reform" is that it would include stepped-up enforcement. Vilsack seems not to be such a fan of enforcement, saying: "It's difficult to know when someone is documented and when someone isn't. It's difficult when there are efforts at enforcement that basically disrupt not only undocumented folks but also documented … which we've seen in some of the processing facilities." If "reform" passed, does anyone think Vilsack would do a 180 and support "disrupt[ive]" immigration raids?
4. Vilsack used a long list of bogus talking points. The first item above is the jobs Americans wont do canard, but there were several more. From the article:
Reforms would result in "a reliable, legal workforce," said Vilsack. Reforms would also:
* Continue efforts "to secure the borders."
* Hold accountable "businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers."
Vilsack also used the deportations false choice, saying "The reality is, if you tried to deport all 12 million it would take several hundred years. That isn't practical." See the link for how he tried to mislead.
5. Vilsack also ran down the eVerify program, at least as a standalone solutiion, saying: "The E-Verify system creates a potential difficulty, particularly for smaller businesses... That's because they'd have to invest resources in equipment and training to participate."
"Our concern is that without a legal agricultural guest worker program in place – or without comprehensive immigration reform – you have roughly 500,000 workers out there that, frankly, would be screened out (by) a mandatory E-Verify program. If that happens, the risk of production losses, or production moving outside the country, is very real... If you just put in a mandatory E-Verify program, there's suddenly a huge gap in agricultural that must be filled from somewhere. Otherwise, the crops won't be planted and harvested. That's the reality."
 Vilsack: "There needs to be a comprehensive immigration system that deals with the 12 million people here, many working in our farm fields."
 Vilsack: "I've met farmers and ranchers all over this country who are worried about the broken immigration system... Simply put, our broken immigration system offers little hope for producers trying to do the right thing and make a living...
Fri, 05/27/2011 - 14:27 · Importance: 4