agjobs

AgJOBS amnesty/indentured servitude bill (Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act)

The AgJOBS bill ("Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act") is an amnesty for farmworkers that, as have past amnesties, could be abused by criminals and terrorists (p.47).

The bill has an indentured servitude component: it would keep the newly-legalized on the farm for a few years if they wanted to be able to get on the path to citizenship. Once legalized, former illegal alien farm workers would be able to compete for any job for which they're qualified: cashier, nurse, teacher, whatever. The AgJOBS solution amounts to indentured servitude: keep them on the farm if they want to eventually become citizens.

Last modified Jun 29, 2011
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011: new amnesty push from Leahy, Menendez, Durbin, Reid, Schumer, Kerry, Gillibrand - 06/23/11

Yesterday the U.S. Senators listed in the title introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, this year's version of a major amnesty bill.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010: Robert Menendez' amnesty - 09/30/10

Senator Bob Menendez has introduced a new amnesty bill called the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010". It's almost 900 pages and, since it's probably not going anywhere, the following discussion will be brief. However, feel free to provide additional information in comments. You can download a copy from weareoneamerica.org/blog/sep-10/we-have-bill
At least one part of it appears to be lifted from Ted Kennedy's 2007 amnesty (#4 below). If anyone would like to compare the two, please leave a comment.

1. The section "Annual report on improving North American security information exchange" obviously has echoes of George W Bush's SPP, the North American Union, and other efforts to, if not join us, Mexico, and Canada into one country at least bring us closer than most residents of those countries would want.

2. The section "Cooperation with the Government of Mexico" is mostly as bad as you'd expect. It seeks to promote "circular migration", but why not support reducing immigration in the first place? And:

The Secretary of State, in cooperation with other appropriate Federal officials, shall work with appropriate officials of the Government of Mexico to educate citizens and nationals of Mexico regarding their eligibility for nonimmigrant status in the United States to ensure that such citizens and nationals are not exploited while working in the United States.

3. They want to study deaths among those illegally crossing into the U.S., giving it away with "an analysis of whether physical barriers, technology, and enforcement programs have contributed to the rate of migrant deaths". If they were truly concerned about that issue they'd move to reduce both illegal and legal immigration.

4. It would create the "United States-Mexico Border Enforcement Commission" which, of course, is as bad as it sounds; see this.

5. Reading the whole "Detention Reform" section is left as an exercise, but expect massive giveaways to immigration lawyers and overall an attempt to hobble detention.

6. It would create a "Standing Commission on Immigration, Labor Markets, and the National Interest" which would, among other things, "recommend to Congress and the President the numeric levels and characteristics of workers to be admitted in various employment based visa categories". The Commission would basically administer the new H-2C guest workers plan; that H-2C plan was also part of the earlier Harry Reid amnesty.

7. The H-2C guest workers program, of course, pretends that employers have to first offer jobs to citizens; most of those employers would do that in a bad faith fashion. Not only that, but "guests" could adjust their status to Lawful Permanent Resident either after four years (if they petition themselves) or presumably at any time if their employer petitions for them. They have to pay a fee (a whopping $100, plus any fees levied by the Department of Homeland Security which might increase that amount a bit), prove they're working, and prove they're learning English and civics. This is, needless to say, the kicker: foreign citizens would be brought in by corrupt employers in an attempt to undercut U.S. workers, would be put on the "path to citizenship", and would within a decade or so be voting mostly for the Democrats.

8. The giveaways in the entire "Family and Employment Visa Reforms" are left as an exercise.

9. The AgJOBS amnesty is included, as is the anti-American DREAM Act amnesty.

10. It includes a "Blue Card Status", which appears to be some kind of amnesty for farmworkers.

11. And, finally, the kicker of kickers, it has a general amnesty allowing illegal aliens to obtain "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" status. They can then convert that into LPR and get on the "path to citizenship". I was unable to find any restrictions on them proving they'd been in the U.S. for an extended time period, so this might cover almost all non-criminal illegal aliens. If anyone can find something requiring them to have to prove they've lived in the U.S. for, say, two years or more leave a comment.

Finally, imagine how this is going to work out:

[government agencies] shall broadly disseminate information regarding Lawful Prospective Immigrant status, the rights and benefits that flow from such status, and the requirements to be satisfied to obtain this status. Such information shall be disseminated in the top five principal languages, as determined by the Secretary in the Secretary’s discretion, spoken by aliens who would qualify for status under this section, including to television, radio, and print media to which such aliens would have access.

Mike Thomas of Orlando Sentinel supports exploitation of farm workers to keep prices low (UFW's anti-American takeourjobs) - 07/14/10

Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel offers "If illegal immigrants go, produce prices would skyrocket" (link), a breezy attempt to put a happy face on the United Farmworkers of America's anti-

Michael Steele, extremist and Mexico-linked illegal immigration supporters to meet March 31 (after sit-in) - 03/30/10

RNC chairman Michael Steele will be meeting with a group of far-left illegal immigration supporters on March 31, 2010; the details on who's involved and the backstory is below. Most importantly of all, please take a few moments and try to contact him, his staff, or someone who can get a message to him and suggest that he handles this meeting in the right way.

Note: the only two contacts I've found are info *at* gop.com and on Twitter: @ChairmanMSteele but I don't know if the second is really his.

The wrong way, of course, would be for the chairman of the Republican Party to agree with far-left racial power supporters who have little or no use for our immigration laws. Another wrong way would be to simply disagree with them without showing how they're wrong. A mostly wrong way to handle it would be to simply nod along.

The best way to handle the meeting - and the way least likely to occur given his past statements [1] - would be for Steele to video the proceedings and show how they're wrong. Because the GOP is run by those who have little competence beyond cashing checks, don't expect that to occur. But, if by some miracle they get some sense they could easily devastate the arguments that the other side provides since those arguments are full of holes.

For instance, if they bring up the DREAM Act, Steele could point out that what they support would let illegal aliens take college educations from U.S. citizens. Or, he could point out all the many downsides of comprehensive immigration reform. Or, he could ask those attending about their interesting positions and links.

Per [2], this is who'll be there:

* Josh Hoyt of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR's president serves on an advisory council to the Mexican government and clearly has divided loyalties; they're also linked into the Illinois power structure, such as by having been appointed to a state council by Rod Blagojevich)...

* Xiomara Corpeno of CHIRLA, a group that has allegedly collaborated with the Mexican government...

* Christine Neumann-Ortiz of Wisconsin's Voces de la Frontera (intimidated a politician by surrounding their house; opposed an immigration raid that no doubt freed up jobs for Americans; said a citizenship test is like a poll tax)...

* Tony Asion of El Pueblo North Carolina (group co-founded by Andrea Bazan of the National Council of La Raza; supported drivers licenses for illegal aliens and AgJobs in a letter signed by many other groups)...

* Eun Sook Lee of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (opposes immigration enforcement)...

* Julien Ross of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (wants that state to accept the Matricula Consular card, an ID practically guaranteeing that the bearer is here illegally)...

Others at the meeting:
* Tim O'Harrow, of the Council of Rural Initiatives and the Dairy Business Association...
* Pramila Jayapal of OneAmerica...
* Ricardo Perez of the Hispanic Affairs Pastoral Project...
* a student who supports the DREAM Act...
* Sergio Suarez, "successful businessman and entrepreneur (Chicago)".

Note that ICIRR, CIRA, and El Pueblo among many others signed a letter opposing immigration raids.

The meeting was initiated after a group of around forty pro-illegal immigration activists affiliated with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement engaged in a sit-in at the offices of the RNC and demanded a meeting with Steele. This was in conjunction with their big march, and video is at peekURL.com/v9kwtkq

[1] wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/03/22/sit-in-rnc-immigration
[2] dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/3/30/852398/-untitled-diary

McCain still supports amnesty, says probably won't pass; Western Growers wants subsidized labor - 01/22/10

John McCain spoke to Western Growers on the 14th, at a meeting that he initiated (link). He still (of course) supports comprehensive immigration reform but he says it's not likely in 2010 due to it being an election year. He also said that passing AgJOBS is impossible to pass in 2010 as a standalone bill but only as a part of a CIR bill. And:

(Tom Nassif) said the Western Growers provided McCain with policy papers on the group’s concerns, including health care costs for seasonal workers and undocumented workers. Western Growers would prefer that part-time seasonal workers be exempt from insurance requirements... Currently, a majority of farm workers are not covered, he said... "How do you impose those costs on companies where they don’t have the financial wherewithal to do so?" Nassif said.

Part-time seasonal farm workers don't have the wherewithal to pay for their own healthcare at anything approaching the market rate, which means that Western Growers in effect wants subsidized labor in which some state entity would pick up their healthcare costs (in addition, of course, to all the other costs such as education).

Read about CIR ASAP: "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009" (Luis Gutierrez) - 12/11/09

[A DISCUSSION OF SOME OF THE PROVISIONS IS HERE, AND MORE UPDATES ARE BELOW]

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009 Rep. Luis Gutierrez will introduce an amnesty bill called the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009". His announcement (luisgutierrez.house.gov/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1406) provides no details, however:

1. Details on the bill will be provided here when it becomes available; expect it to be a bit on the far-left side and expect it to not go very far, except perhaps if it's watered down. In the latter case it might present a problem.
2. The way to deal with things like this is outlined on this page. It's also necessary to deal with those on the conservative/Republican side who'd take a fall; that includes the tea parties or at least their leaders as well as some major bloggers and pundits.
3. Those involved are from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus and include: Nydia Velazquez, Yvette Clarke, Mike Honda, Lynn Woolsey, Judy Chu, Joseph Crowley, Pedro Pierluisi (Puerto Rico), Jared Polis, Jan Schakowsky, and Jose Serrano.

12/15/09 UPDATE: Per this, Gutierrez claims he has 80 co-sponsors, and his press conference including young people wearing t-shirts saying "Future Voter". Guess which party they'll be voting for. And:

One key Republican who said he was “disappointed” by Gutierrez’s bill is Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Flake’s opposition is important because in past years he has worked with Gutierrez on immigration reform. But because this bill includes a lottery where 100,000 new workers could come in each year for three years, instead of a temporary worker program, Flake said he cannot support it... Flake said the bill “repeatres the mistakes of the ‘86 reform - massive legalzaiton without a temporary worker program to accomodate future labor demands.”

12/15/09 UPDATE 2: Per this:

The 700-page bill... will carry the name of Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, the longest-serving Latino currently in the House and selected by his peers to shepherd the legislation through Congress... The bill would create a Southern Border Security Task Force composed of federal, state and local law enforcement to crack down on crime, increase the number of inspectors at border land ports and provide more training and equipment for Border Patrol agents... It would include a worker verification program and visa reforms that promote family unity and expand those for agriculture-related work.

There's an audio report here; per another page on their site the fee to get on the "path to citizenship" is $500.

Among those cheering the bill are:
* UFW Foundation Director Diana Tellefson "said her group and agricultural employers backed the bill" (last link; that group is associated with the United Farmworkers of America).
* Rep. Sam Farr of California; he notes that the bill includes AgJOBS, the DREAM Act, and his "Proud to be an American Citizen Act" (link).
* Proud former MEChA member Rep. Raul Grijalva (link).
* The AFL CIO, which says that it includes the following from their "joint framework for immigration reform" (link):

- An inclusive and effective solution that allows a path for undocumented immigrants to come forward and regularize their status. Trumka says “this is fundamental to our ability to crack down on employers who are using unauthorized workers to drive down wages and other standards.”
- An independent commission to assess and manage future flow of immigrants, based on labor market shortages that are determined on the basis of actual need.
- Reform, not expansion of existing temporary worker programs immediately to stop the exploitation of workers and safeguard standards in impacted industries.

* The Service Employees International Union (link).
* Amnesty International USA (link)

12/15/09 UPDATE 3: Per this:

A draft overview of the bill, circulated with the letter, ends some enforcement tools such as the 287(g) local police cooperation program, calls for an electronic verification system to replace the voluntary E-verify program, argues that there's no need for more U.S. Border Patrol agents or fencing, and establishes a long-term path to citizenship for illegal immigrants... That path would require illegal immigrants to pay a $500 fine, pass a background check and learn English and civics to gain legal status. After six years, they could apply for legal permanent residence, or a green card, which is the interim step to citizenship. There is no "touchback" provision requiring them to return to their home countries at some point in the process.

They also quote someone who I stumped four years ago:

"Of course [the high unemployment rate] complicates [the push for amnesty]. Of course the public's first reaction is understandable, it's why do we need more workers when upwards of 15 million Americans are out of work," said Tamar Jacoby, president and chief executive officer of ImmigrationWorks USA, a coalition of businesses pushing for immigration reform... But she said history has shown that there are some jobs that American workers won't take and immigrant workers will... She pointed to resort communities in Michigan that struggled to find workers this summer even though they were just a couple of counties away from Detroit, which has been devastated by layoffs... "Laid-off autoworkers in Detroit don't want to travel across the state, let alone across the country, to pick pears, pick apples," she said.

The example she provides is the same as that recently used by America's Voice.

12/15/09 UPDATE 4: I take a look at some of the provisions here; they're as bad as you'd expect.

12/21/09 UPDATE 5: There's an interview with Brian Bilbray about the bill here.

Grover Norquist group's loony libertarian immigration ideas - 06/01/09

On Friday, RedState front-paged the Brian Johnson article "Conservative Immigration Reform is Right Next to Unicorns and Leprechauns" [1]. At first you might think he's just some random libertarian loon, until you see the article in its original location at the "Alliance for Worker Freedom" [2].

Andrew Rosenthal/NYT supports AgJobs (indentured servitude bill) - 05/16/09

The NYT editorial "Farms and Immigrants" (link) supports the recently re-introduced AgJobs farmworker amnesty/indentured servitude bill:

Because it’s hard to find Americans willing to endure the heat, cold and misery of stooping in the fields - or the low wages - growers overwhelmingly use undocumented workers. An estimated 75 percent or more of the agricultural work force is here illegally. This is bad for everybody. Undocumented workers are easy prey for exploitation and unable to assert their rights. Growers constantly complain about labor shortages and are vulnerable to disruptive immigration raids.

The NYT solution to the problem of "jobs americans wont do" is to import a foreign serf class rather than making changes to farm work - such as mechanization and easier working conditions - where it would be appealing to more Americans. And, through their constant support for illegal immigration, the NYT has played a role in enabling the exploitation they complain about. As for the growers complaining, much of that is simply propaganda that was "planted" into sympathetic news sources; see the crops rotting in the fields entries.

Feinstein re-introduces AgJobs farmworker amnesty/indentured servitude bill - 05/14/09

Senator Dianne Feinstein has re-introduced the "Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act" (AgJobs) farmworker amnesty plan [1] with sixteen co-sponsors [2]. Consider these listed features:

# Undocumented agriculture workers would be eligible for a “blue card” if they can demonstrate having worked in American agriculture for at least 150 work days (or 863 hours) over the previous two years before December 31, 2008.

# The blue card holder would be required to work in American agriculture for an additional three years (working at least 150 work days per year) or five years (working at least 100 work days per year), before becoming eligible to apply for a green card to become a permanent legal resident.

# The blue card would entitle the worker to a temporary legal resident status. The total number of blue cards would be capped at 1.35 million over a five-year period, and the program would sunset after five years.

A former Department of Labor attorney discusses it here, using phrases like "anti-American", "un-American", and "indentured servitude". Note that the cap would probably be increased over time until many more were covered by the amnesty, and note also that such programs are easy to abuse using fake documents. For instance:

Two-thirds of special agricultural worker applications for a 1986 amnesty were fraudulent. Terrorist Mohammed Abouhalima was one such fraud. He secured legal status, then got involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

And, note the incredible dishonesty in the various statements at [1], such as:

"During these rough economic times, our own farmers can’t find enough workers," said Senator Nelson (D-Fla.)... ...Efforts have been made for years to get Americans to do the work, but they simply won’t do it...

Absent easy access to cheap foreign labor, farmers and growers would be forced to either move offshore, mechanize, or raise wages and increase labor standards in order to attract American workers. If they really wanted to do the latter, they could do it especially with millions of U.S. citizens unemployed.

Then, under the headline "Consider some of these stories", they discuss a few crops rotting in the fields articles, part of the decades-long line of grower-friendly propaganda promising $10 heads of lettuce without a guest workers program. Two out of the three were discussed here: one about growers moving operations to Mexico, and another from a year ago featuring a tomato grower whining. As it turned out, he had been named to a panel by George W Bush.

UPDATE: The House version will be re-introduced by Democrat Howard Berman and Republican Adam Putnam. Craig Regelbrugge of the American Nursery and Landscape Association and the Agriculture Coalition for Labor Reform and Tom Stenzel of the United Fresh Produce Association cheer the news here.

UPDATE 2: Not surprisingly, the NYT supports the scheme.

[1] http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsRoom.PressReleases&
ContentRecord_id=405eb8ec-5056-8059-76cd-3299775ec5d0
[2] The co-sponsors, all Democrats, are: Charles Schumer, Pat Leahy, Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Maria Cantwell, Bob Casey, Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, Ted Kauffman, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Herb Kohl, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Patty Murray, and Bill Nelson.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushing AgJobs amnesty, attached to Iraq bill - 05/15/08

Via this we find this:

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) obtained passage today of an amendment to the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill to provide partial amnesty for illegal immigrants working in agriculture. The amendment would provide legal status for 1.35 million agricultural workers and lessen current protections for Americans and new foreign workers taking agricultural jobs.

Dianne Feinstein's "Emergency Agriculture Relief Act of 2008": mini-AgJobs - 04/01/08

Senator Dianne Feinstein's robotic quest to help growers in California and otehr states obtain cheap labor continues as she will apparently offer the "Emergency Agriculture Relief Act of 2008", as described here:
[It] would provide temporary limited legal immigration status to experienced farmworkers who must continue to work in agriculture for five years after enactment.

Workers, however, could not obtain legal permanent resident status (green cards), the program would be capped at 1.35 million workers nationwide and eligibility would be limited to those who can prove agricultural employment for at least 150 days or 863 hours or who have earned at least $7,000 working in agriculture during the 48 months prior to Dec. 31, 2007.

The plan would also require emergency workers to labor at least 100 days per year in agriculture for each of the next five years, pay a $250 fine plus processing fees and restricts them from receiving social security benefits based on prior illegal employment.
Note that she's continually tried to enact the more sweeping AgJobs amnesty. Feinstein spokesman Scott Gerber pretends that the endless propaganda about crops rotting in the fields is anything other than an attempt to gain cheaper labor. You can send a FAX about this here; perhaps you could suggest that she sticks to doing things like this instead.

Dianne Feinstein drops AgJobs amnesty, doesn't have the votes - 11/06/07

According to this, Sen. Dianne Feinstein yesterday decided that she didn't have the votes to add the AgJobs farmworker amnesty to the Farm Bill:

"When we took a clear-eyed assessment of the politics of the farm bill and the defeat of the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, it became clear that our support could not sustain these competing forces... [because of this] we will continue to see labor shortages far into the future. Fruit will rot. Crops will go unharvested.

AgJobs amnesty: on Farm Bill next week? - 11/01/07

Dianne Feinstein might try to attach the AgJobs amnesty (info) to the Farm Bill, which apparently will be voted on next week.

Jeff Sessions warns: AgJOBS, DREAM Act amnesties as amendments - 09/12/07

From this:
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a leading immigration policy critic, said Wednesday that amendments planned for upcoming legislation could put more than 4 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.

...Sessions warned colleagues in a letter that legislation (S 774) labeled the DREAM Act that would allow states to provide college benefits to illegal immigrants could be offered as an amendment to the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations bill (HR 3222) later this month.

Feinstein, Reid, growers to push AgJobs amnesty (yes, again) - 08/23/07

Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently gave a speech today where she promised to bring back the AgJobs farmworkers amnesty scheme, which would cover at least 1.5 current illegal aliens. Harry Reid already promised to bring it back, perhaps attached to some other bill such as the Farm Bill.
Step one in the plan for passage calls for farmers and their allies to emphasize anew the dangers of losing an agricultural work force.
They've been working on that for a while, with sympathetic "news" sources promoting "crops rotting in the fields" articles.
"Agriculture is going to push this thing," Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League, said Wednesday... Recently, Cunha took part in an immigration conference call with White House officials who are maneuvering in their own way.

[...Step Two involves Reid's schemes...]

Step three in the AgJobs game plan relies on employer anxiety over a new Bush administration plan for cracking down on companies that hire illegal immigrants. Two weeks ago, the White House announced plans to send out tens of thousands of so-called "no-match" letters...

Larry Craig on no-match: without "reform" it's the end of the American Dream - 08/13/07

Yet another sign that the Bush administration's current pledge to enforce our immigration laws is a scam comes from the thoughts of Senator Larry Craig, who spoke to a Rotary Club to promote his AgJobs amnesty:

Pressure to pass immigration reform will intensify as millions of undocumented workers lose jobs as a result of a crackdown by the Social Security Administration, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said Thursday...

Dianne Feinstein: either pass "reform", or allow illegal immigration (acropalypse!) - 08/11/07

Senator Dianne Feinstein uses the news that the Bush administration says it's finally going to enforce our immigration laws to promote the AgJobs amnesty. Reading between the lines, she's saying that if that doesn't pass, she's willing to support illegal immigration. Is she little more than an enabler of crooked growers?

Carlos Gutierrez, Larry Craig get plaques from American Nursery and Landscape Association - 07/30/07

From this:
Attendees at the 2007 (American Nursery and Landscape Association) Legislative Conference visited approximately 250 House and Senate offices representing 40 states. Attendees visited Capitol Hill to lobby Congress for a solution to the labor and immigration crisis and to support specialty crop provisions in the 2007 Farm Bill reauthorization. Research funding and water policy were also addressed.

United States Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez [shown right receiving a plaque "in thanks for his work to secure comprehensive immigration reform"] [1] and Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) [also got his own plaque] both addressed the attendees, encouraging them to maintain their efforts to achieve a necessary solution for securing a viable workforce for our country's agricultural and seasonal industries...

...Confirming the importance of continued lobbying, the very evening the conference concluded Senators Larry Craig and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) engaged in a 40-minute debate on the Senate floor in an attempt to introduce AgJOBS provisions, agricultural worker immigration reform, in response to anti-immigrant language introduced into the Farm Bill...

...The partners include ANLA, OFA (An Association of Floriculture Professionals), the Irrigation Association (IA), the Perennial Plant Association (PPA), ANLA’s Lighthouse Partner state associations, the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), and the National Association of Plant Patent Owners (NAPPO)...
Instead of sending bricks or toilet brushes, perhaps we should send plaques with sarcastic messages. [1] 12/16/10 UPDATE: The image in this post appears to have been deleted. It was at: lawnandlandscape.com/news/images/Gutierrez_Regelbugge2.jpg

Agrigeddon! WSJ says fewer cukes being grown this year - 07/20/07

The Wall Street Journal offers "Immigration Non-Harvest" (PDF), which is designed to promote the AgJOBS amnesty. The tale is not to be taken seriously and is presented here only because it's so funny:

...This spring, labor shortages forced Michigan growers to leave asparagus rotting in the fields, while farmers in North Carolina lost nearly a third of their cucumber crop last year. They're growing fewer cukes this summer... Growers who can't find enough workers to pick cantaloupe and eggplant are already substituting row crops such as wheat, corn or soybeans that are more highly mechanized. The irony is that specialty crops are also the fastest-growing segment of agribusiness and the least subsidized by taxpayers. So the farm labor shortage could push growers toward government-subsidized crops that distort the world trading system...

Because, as we all know, illegal labor is completely free to the rest of us and isn't subsidized in any way.

...But a more heavily fortified southern border and government immigration raids have busted up this efficient North American labor market...

I would hope that most non-hack economists wouldn't consider a market that relies on massive political corruption to be a real market at all.

The resulting labor shortage is leading some employers to desperate measures. In upstate New York, dairy farmers have formed informal networks, so that when one farm is raided and loses workers, surrounding farms spare some of their own labor to help minimize the economic damage.

*cough* conspiracy charges *cough*

According to Tim Chelling of the Western Growers Association, whose 3,000 members in California and Arizona generate half of the nation's fresh produce, "there's a quiet exodus going on already, tens of thousands of acres and millions of dollars in economic activity."

Can he be trusted? Even if he's telling the truth should we really care? Could the exodus be a bit louder so we could show up to say good-bye to them?

If the U.S. can't import foreign workers to help harvest American farm products, the U.S. will have to import more foreign farm products harvested by foreign workers. Either that, or Americans will pay a lot more for fruits and vegetables as their supply shrinks. Blame Mr. Dobbs and Tom Tancredo the next time you're appalled by prices at the grocery.

I'm sure many of the readers of the WSJ have someone else do the shopping for them, and in any case no one who's serious thinks that restricting illegal labor would raise prices by any great amount. And, while there are certainly risks involved in importing food from other countries, perhaps moving production to where the cheap labor is rather than the other way around is the more natural and better way to do things.

Jeff Flake: STRIVE Act (House amnesty) doesn't have a prayer. But... - 07/19/07

Some comments from Rep. Jeff Flake ("Smiley"; R-AZ) on the Flake-Gutierrez STRIVE Act (House amnesty) are here. Asked whether it has a chance:

Not a prayer. No, I just don't see the Democrats wanting to take it up. I mean with the Senate bill dead I just don't think there's going to be any serious comprehensive legislation to move. There may be some political statement legislation or some single elements go through...

Alan Bjerga/Bloomberg propaganda: wheat farmers want cheap foreign labor - 07/04/07

For years, newspapers have been printing outright propaganda pieces with growers complaining that unless they get cheap foreign labor crops will rot in the fields. However, Alan Bjerga of Bloomberg offers a new twist: this time it's wheat farmers doing the whining ("U.S. Wheat Farmers Face Grim Harvests as Immigration Bill Dies", link).

Democrats next immigration move: pass AgJobs, anti-American DREAM Act - 06/29/07

Yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer issued the following release regarding the failed Bush-Kennedy-Senate immigratiom amnesty bill [1]:
"I decided to vote yes on cloture today because I felt that if the policies in this bill were carried out properly, the result would be a strengthening of our border security, the rescue of our agriculture industry, and the acknowledgment that hardworking undocumented immigrants should have a path to legality if they follow the tough rules we have set out...

STRIVE Act: MALDEF, Juan Hernandez, ANLA support; Chertoff kinda - 03/24/07

Without refering to Flake-Gutierrez specifically, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff reiterated his support for "guest" worker scheme:
"[The new laws should] bring them out, register them ... and make sure as a condition that they pay their debt to society for having broken the law... What I'm talking about is a common sense policy... We have to be tough. We have to be humane.

H.R.1645 Summary, Co-Sponsors, Full Text (Flake, Gutierrez, HR1645, STRIVE Act) - 03/24/07

The official summary of the Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy ("STRIVE Act", aka HR1645, aka H.R. 1645, aka HR 1645, aka the "Flake-Gutierrez Massive Illegal Alien Amnesty of 2007") is here. The full text and other details are available here.

Jeff Flake, Luis Gutierrez to introduce amnesty bill in House - 03/20/07

Looks like there's a bit of work ahead, as Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) are going to introduce an illegal alien amnesty bill in the House on Thursday.Looks like there's a bit of work ahead, as Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) are going to introduce an illegal alien amnesty bill in the House on Thursday. Senator Teddy Kennedy "applauds" their efforts as he continues his attempts to bring forth a horror in the Senate.

The details of the bill as provided by those Reps and apparently annotated by the OC Register are included in the extended entry, and they even include the creation of a "North American security perimeter".

The exact details of the amnesty itself don't really matter: the bill is amnesty and will be perceived as such around the world, resulting in massive amounts of both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S.

The way to solve this issue is clear:

1. Call your representatives and urge everyone else you know to do the same.

2. Work to discredit anyone who supports this or other amnesties. That includes anyone who has some sort of influence, from major bloggers to religious leaders to Congressmen. If you have the chance to destroy their career, do it.

_A new worker program. This variation on a guest worker program would allow low-skilled people to get jobs here when U.S. workers could not be found to fill a needed job. These employees would be able to change jobs and travel and eventually get on a path to citizenship. The worker visa would be valid for three years and renewable once.

This provision is likely to draw fire from those who favor a temporary worker program, under which guest workers would not be able to remain here indefinitely. A group of Republican senators have been working with the White House on their own bill that is expected to include a guest worker program, but not one that would lead to permanent residency.

_A legalization plan. Illegal immigrants who pay a fine and pass background checks would be eligible for a conditional status and could work and travel for six years. If during that time they learned English, stayed employed, had clean criminal records, paid fines and back taxes, the immigrants would be eligible for legal status.

This plan also includes a requirement that the undocumented immigrants leave the country and reenters legally. It's not clear from the summary available exactly how that would work.

Such a provision will likely engender opposition from immigration advocates who would see that as an impediment to some of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants coming forward. But it could make such a plan more palatable to those who say any legalization plan amounts to an amnesty.

_Employer verification. Employers would have to verify that the people they hire are legally entitled to work in the U.S. The new system would eventually apply to all employees and all new hires and would be implemented in phases. Penalties would be increased for employers who don't comply with the verification system.

Both sides in the immigration debate have been calling for such a provision.

_Agriculture. The AgJobs legislation introduced in the House and Senate would be included. This would give a path to legalization and citizenship to an estimated 5 million agriculture workers.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., have been especially pushing this provision. Feinstein has said she would prefer to start with this plan instead of a broader overall bill.

_Education. This provision would allow illegal immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition and also remove current barriers to their getting a higher education and to working.

This proposal has had strong bipartisan support in past congresses.

_Border security. More border enforcement personnel would be hired and increased technology used to secure the U.S./Mexico border. A North American security perimeter would be established in coordination with Mexico.

American Nursery and Landscape Association: green thumbs up for Bush immigration plan - 01/28/07

The American Nursery and Landscape Association joins the other groups issuing press communiques relating to Bush's SOTU speech, in which he (for the umpteenth time) promoted a "guest" worker plan and amnesty for illegal aliens.

California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation making signs for day laborers? - 01/11/07

Is part of the mandate of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation - funded by the federal agency the Legal Services Corporation - to help day laborers make signs?

Fight the AgJobs amnesty (precursor to full amnesty) - 01/11/07

As previously discussed, yesterday various amnesty supporters in the House and Senate reintroduced the AgJobs bill that would give amnesty to up to 1.5 million illegal alien farmworkers. In addition to the names previously mentioned:
Last year's chairman of the House immigration subcommittee, Indiana Republican John Hostetler, staunchly opposed guest-worker bills. He was not re-elected in November.

Feinstein, Larry Craig to push AgJobs (illegal alien farmworker amnesty) - 01/09/07

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.

Miranda Vagg transcribes growers pining for cheap labor - 10/10/06

Miranda Vagg of the "Greater Niagara Newspapers" group (printed in New York's "Lockport Union-Sun & Journal") offers a slab of pro-illegal immigration propaganda called "IMMIGRATION RAIDS: Local farmers reeling from busts".

California Rural Legal Assistance violated federal law? - 09/15/06

The inspector general of the federal Legal Services Corporation has issued a report highly critical of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), which is funded by LSC. He:
found "substantial evidence the CRLA has violated federal law" by soliciting clients, working a fee-generating case, requesting attorney fees and associating with political activities...

Larry Craig to lead "Secure Our Borders and Our Economy" rally - 09/11/06

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) and friends will be holding a "rally" on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and demanding "comprehensive" immigration "reform". From their press release:
A group of lawmakers, business leaders and agriculture producers will gather on Capitol Hill to demand Border Security be paired with Immigration Reform.

Immigration laws squeeze cherry, grape farmers; Mike Johanns - 07/01/06

Various newspapers have printed an infinite series of propaganda featuring various growers complaining about how their crops are rotting in the fields because of a lack of cheap foreign serf labor.

Mexicans demand citizenship rights... in Aurora, Illinois - 09/26/05

"Nearly" one thousand people - many or most of them illegal aliens from Mexico and other countries - marched through Aurora IL demanding that House Speaker Dennis Hastert support the Kennedy-McCain massive amnesty scheme. The march was organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. See the link for more information on that organization.

Citizenship and Immigration Ombudsman is fmr prez of AILA chapter - 09/21/05

The Ombudsman of the Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services is a former President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association:

...the AILA is directed by approximately 100 associates who also serve as members of the pro-Communist National Lawyers Guild... AILA has joined with other leftwing groups to denounce, in their entirety, the security measures taken by the U.S.

Throw another PIIPP on the pile - 07/26/05

[A "PIIPP" is a "pro-illegal immigration puff piece".

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