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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NY Times: Smith Promises Agricultural Worker Bill

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Buried in this morning's story on panic amongst the nations farmers over the Smith E-Verify bill was this important news:

In a May letter to the members of the Judiciary Committee, Bob Stallman, the president of the American Farm Bureau, cited a Labor Department survey placing the percentage of illegal workers in the fields at more than 50 percent. Other groups say the figure is closer to 70 percent. Denying farmers that labor supply, Mr. Stallman wrote, would cost them $5 billion to $9 billion annually.

Mr. Smith's bill has attracted more solid support from nonagricultural business leaders, opening a divide between them and agricultural interests. Many nonfarm businesses have concluded that some form of employee verification is inevitable.

National organizations of restaurant owners and home builders gave their backing. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which unites Latino businesses in Mr. Smith's district that have often been at odds with him, is leaning toward endorsing the bill, said Ramiro A. Cavazos, the president of the chamber.

Still, Mr. Smith, whose district includes parts of suburban San Antonio and Austin as well as a large part of the nearby Hill Country, recently acknowledged the surge of worry in rural areas. He said he would soon introduce a separate bill to "address the needs of the agriculture industry," either proposing changes to the current federal temporary farm worker program, known as H-2A, or offering a new guest worker program.



Linking enforcement with guest worker reforms is critical. Just calling for more enforcement against employers is irresponsible if it threatens vital industries. Employers who can demonstrate a genuine need for immigrant workers should have a system that allows them to do so. Hopefully, Lamar Smith has gotten this message. And he ought to remember there are many industries that can readily demonstrate that not enough US workers are available.

By the way, opponents of any type of "amnesty" who are genuine when they say that they're not against immigration - just illegal immigration - should be cheering guest worker reforms. By creating an orderly, workable system to sponsor guest workers, the incentives to immigrate illegally would decrease dramatically. Unfortunately, I suspect that when push comes to shove, most of the antis out there just want to stop immigration all together regardless of how the immigrant gets here. I hope I am surprised.

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  1. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Do they realize they will have to hire all new workers for this new programs as current illegally present workers are not eligible to obtain status, and anything that will allow them to legalize is "amnesty"? So, where are they going to get people to replace 70% of agricutural labor?
  2. George Chell's Avatar
    "Unfortunately, I suspect that when push comes to shove, most of the antis out there just want to stop immigration all together regardless of how the immigrant gets here. I hope I am surprised."

    Tea partiers will say that we need to pay $100 an hour to attract American workers to pick fruits! Of course, either the farmers will have to come for more subsidy (not practical under current circumstances) or they can go broke! The main goal of the antis is RACE...the fear of whites becoming a minority in America..it has nothing to do with the American worker. If I had committed the atrocities against blacks and other minorities that their ancestors committed not too long ago, I will also live in terror of a minority-majority nation! It is understandable!
  3. Nurse Waiting's Avatar
    "So, where are they going to get people to replace 70% of agricutural labor?"

    7 billion people around the world will harp on the opportunity. Plenty available around the world who can follow the laws and come here legally. Mexico is not the only poor agrarian nation in the world.
  4. Sid's Avatar
    "7 billion people around the world will harp on the opportunity. Plenty available around the world who can follow the laws and come here legally. Mexico is not the only poor agrarian nation in the world. "

    And certainly not the poorest. Mexico compares very favourably to most Asian and African countries in terms of standard of living.

    http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table1_reprint.pdf
  5. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "7 billion people around the world will harp on the opportunity."

    Total BS. First of all, there is not 7 billion people in the world yet. Second, there are some people in the world who would not want to work in agriculture - will you? I won't. So are about 2 billion. Then, the vast majority would not want to be away from their families. Then, traveling 10K miles will not be justified for the vast majority. All in all, there are very few people who would agree to come to the US on H2 visa, without an opportunity to stay in the US or bring their families. Most of them are from Mexico and Central America, and most of them are in the US already... surprise-surprise.
  6. Sid's Avatar
    "Total BS. First of all, there is not 7 billion people in the world yet. Second, there are some people in the world who would not want to work in agriculture - will you? I won't. So are about 2 billion. Then, the vast majority would not want to be away from their families. Then, traveling 10K miles will not be justified for the vast majority. All in all, there are very few people who would agree to come to the US on H2 visa, without an opportunity to stay in the US or bring their families. Most of them are from Mexico and Central America, and most of them are in the US already... surprise-surprise."

    Right back at you. Complete nonsense. Absolutely no basis for this crap.
    First provide an outlet for Asian and African farmers to come here by creating a guest worker program that is not gamed by Mexican immigrants and we'll see then.
  7. Nurse Waiting's Avatar
    "Total BS. First of all, there is not 7 billion people in the world yet. Second, there are some people in the world who would not want to work in agriculture - will you? I won't. So are about 2 billion. Then, the vast majority would not want to be away from their families. Then, traveling 10K miles will not be justified for the vast majority. All in all, there are very few people who would agree to come to the US on H2 visa, without an opportunity to stay in the US or bring their families."
    I guess you meant "Total BS: Second.....". You sound like antis throwing out statements without any research. Mexico is not the only nation with poor people wanting a better life. Most of the world is barely surviving and will love the opportunity to work in fields of US. Then there are agencies, who will find lot of profit in bringing people from around the world to pick fruits in land of opportunity. $10/hr sounds like a real treat to most people in the world where they get paid $1-2 per day of hard work, if at all.

    "Most of them are from Mexico and Central America, and most of them are in the US already... surprise-surprise." Yes but like you said it will be amnesty and there is no scope for amnesty. Why bother with law breakers when you have law followers wanting to come here legally?
  8. gg 's Avatar
    Unemployed prefer to steal but will not work in farms ....


    These days, desperate thieves are choosing bizarre targets: copper wires, air conditioning units, storm drain covers, grapes, ambulances, pain killers and even bees. This petty thievery of agricultural goods and odd supplies is the new norm in a rapidly worsening economy where unemployment is rampant.

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033159_theft_economy.html#ixzz1ToJMdnJ9
  9. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Why bother with law breakers when you have law followers wanting to come here legally?"

    Yeah, right. Like you will go to Mayanamar without knowing the language to hire 200 workers to bring them to the US to work your fields while you have perfectly good Mexicans that speak enough English and have been working your fields for years right there...

    Here is what is going to happen - farmers will continue to employ illegal workers who they have had relationships with for years. Either you legalize them, or they will just continue to work as is.

    As I have said before, there is no such thing as American job as the job belongs to the person most qualified to do it. We know who it belongs to. Legal shananigans are unlikely to change it.
  10. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "First provide an outlet for Asian and African farmers to come here by creating a guest worker program that is not gamed by Mexican immigrants and we'll see then."

    Well, actually, H2 visa has been around for a while, and it is not even oversubsribed to the level of H1. Farmers have been bringing argicultural workers from as far as New Zealand and South Africa on that visa, so the avenue has been open for Asian workers for quite a while.
  11. Sid's Avatar
    "Well, actually, H2 visa has been around for a while, and it is not even oversubsribed to the level of H1. Farmers have been bringing argicultural workers from as far as New Zealand and South Africa on that visa, so the avenue has been open for Asian workers for quite a while."

    "creating a guest worker program that is not gamed by Mexican immigrants"

    Currently the unskilled guest worker program is gamed by Mexican immigrants - it is called illegal immigration. The H2B is useless till illegal immigration is stopped. The numbers are not large enough for someone to open a recruiting office in Asia or Africa. If 500K-1 mil legal unskilled workers are allowed, you can bet your *** that recruiters will set up shop in Asia and Africa.

    Obama will lose big in 2012 unless Republicans nominate an extremist. Democrats are certain to lose the Senate. If Republicans hold on to the House, E-Verify will become the law of the land. You can forget about amnesty. It'll be an all out war on illegal immigration. If they manage to stop it, I'm going to vote for them in 2016.
  12. gg 's Avatar
    Now ICE checking Id's on railway/metro stations ?

    Feds Raid L.A. Union Station for Illegals, Tweeters Claim; 'Union Station' Starts Trending on Twitter

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/08/ice_raids_bonilla_home_deport.php
  13. gg 's Avatar
    correct link

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/07/ice_raid_la_union_station_illegal_immigrants.php
  14. Jack's Avatar
    "As I have said before, there is no such thing as American job as the job belongs to the person most qualified to do it."

    If your anti-sovereignty ideology were law, as a practical matter, what would you then do with displaced American workers? Also, how would you ensure that Americans not be discriminated against?


    "By creating an orderly, workable system to sponsor guest workers, the incentives to immigrate illegally would decrease dramatically."

    How do you make sure the "guest" leaves? History shows there's nothing more permanent than "temporary guest workers" (and their families) and thus the onus should be on such programs' proponents to prove history wrong. Considering how lax we are on illegal presence, they need to devise an incentive to leave and prove it works in practice before we roll out a massive program. Otherwise, the program which is supposed to decrease illegal immigration will increase it. Then the anti-enforcements will be saying we can't deport them, their kids are citizens, we need an amnesty, a new super-improved guest worker scheme, and here we go again--ad infinitum. E.g., what do we do if the guest worker fathers citizen children? Do we just let the father stay? Do we make the father leave?

  15. George Chell's Avatar
    "If your anti-sovereignty ideology were law, as a practical matter, what would you then do with displaced American workers? Also, how would you ensure that Americans not be discriminated against?"

    First, a country nose deep in debt has no sovereignty and no rights to sovereignty. It is like a person who cannot pay the mortgage refusing to leave his or her home. Second, when you send back all the Japanese, Chinese and other foreign investment that creates jobs in this country, you have the right to ask American corporations to creat jobs in this country and those will be American jobs. Until then there are no American, Korean, Vietnamese or Indian jobs..and the job has to go to the best qualified. Americans get displaced everyday. UW Seattle has capped the number of instate students. Why? Budget cuts..you want to protect Americans, pay for it!

  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "what do we do if the guest worker fathers citizen children? Do we just let the father stay? Do we make the father leave?"

    If the spouse is US citizens you let them stay. Otherwise you send them all home and the kid can take up the citizenship when he or she eighteen and return or they can stay in the US and attend a Catholic boarding school paid by the Catholic Church.

  17. George Chell's Avatar
    "You can forget about amnesty. It'll be an all out war on illegal immigration."

    It will be all-out war on all immigrants, particularly non-white immigrants!
  18. gg 's Avatar
    Build the Border Fence Collection Status Report
    https://www.buildtheborderfence.com/azborder/index.xhtml

    Target=50 million dollars
    Collected till date=$117,145 [in 11 days]
    Avg collection = $10,650
    No of days required to reach target = 4695 [12.9yrs]
    Start of fencing construction = 2024

    hahaha
  19. George Chell's Avatar
    By the time the Border fence goes up...AZ housing will be down in the dumps!
  20. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Currently the unskilled guest worker program is gamed by Mexican immigrants - it is called illegal immigration. "

    No, it is called economic reality. Either the visa can accomodate reality, or it will be useless, much like it is now.

    "If 500K-1 mil legal unskilled workers are allowed, you can bet your *** that recruiters will set up shop in Asia and Africa."

    With the Spanish peaking infrastructure already set up in agriculture, I am going to say it is not very likely to happen. That of course in your dream scenario of virtually unlimited guest worker program, which also is very unlikely to happen. By the way, illegal immigration from Asia is also pretty high... but largely limited to nail salons ;-) Ok, bad joke, but you get the picture - every culture tends to have their own profession.

    "If Republicans hold on to the House, E-Verify will become the law of the land."

    So what? Adultery is a crime in South Carolina. Just an example that making something the law of the land changes nothing.

    "You can forget about amnesty. It'll be an all out war on illegal immigration. If they manage to stop it, I'm going to vote for them in 2016."

    I agree with George that it would be war on immgrants, and you would probably be first in line to be harrased (I am white, what do I care - just kidding). However, I don't think there will be war on immgrants at all. Economic interests always win, and Republicans are in the pocket of corporations who will demand amnesty. You may hear about a couple of big raids, but that will be the extent of it. The only way to make 10 million people leave is to blow up the economy, and I don't think Republicans are that dumb or that bigoted.
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