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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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In the magical, fantasy world of the antis, if you just got rid of those pesky illegally present immigrants, Americans will be lining up to take those jobs. And those jobs would, of course, pay fabulously well because those evil employers, only interested in paying as little as possible, will have to pony up the big bucks for real American workers.

Does this actually happen when, in fact, a company ends up losing its illegally present workers? Consider the case of Gebbers Farms, a large apple orchard in Brewster, Washington. The Seattle Times' Danny Westneat reports that last December the company was the subject of an I-9 audit conducted by ICE. The audit found that while the I-9s were largely in order, many workers used false documents to get their jobs. The company was forced to lay off hundreds of workers.

So given the economic conditions, the company thought that Americans might finally be ready to take these jobs, particularly if the pay was far in excess of the minimum wage:

To replace their depleted Mexican work force, Gebbers Farms posted help-wanted ads for 1,280 jobs picking fruit.27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" height="250" id="kingcounty_recycle051010mr_1ab" width="300">

Must be able to lift 60 pounds, climb a ladder while carrying 40
pounds and endure "wet orchards in temperatures from 30 to 100
degrees," the ads said.

Pay: At least $9.19 an hour. But because workers are paid by how
much they pick, the average last year was $16.48 an hour for picking
cherries and $12.19 an hour for apples, according to the state.

Few Americans applied. And now the company is hiring hundreds of workers in Jamaica and bringing them over on H-2A visas. 

We're now three years in to this downturn and we've seen nearly a million illegally present immigrants leave the US. Yet there is no evidence that Americans are moving in to these agricultural jobs. Even if we don't get comprehensive immigration reform soon, certainly there is a strong case to be made for AgJobs this year.

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  1. Jim's Avatar
    So, where are all those who wants to pick fruits and vegetables??

    Kind of reminds me of my neighbor's dog. When the dog doesn't want to eat or doesn't finish the food, the owners usually tries to give it to her adopted stray cats but the spoiled dog doesn't want to share it to the strays and would rather stare and guard the food rather than let the strays eat it.

    Didn't know that the same things happens in the human world.
  2. Arcoiris's Avatar
    True story, folks. I work on a farm in the accounting department. Yes, farms have accounting departments nowadays. The farm also has a warehouse facility. This young healthy looking white man walks into my office just as the economy was really getting bad. I wished I had had a camera rolling for this one. He says "I need a job. I've been out of work now for 2 months and I'm afraid that my family won't have enough to eat this week." So I did what any reasonable person would do. I said "While I don't have any openings in the warehouse this time of year, I can put you on in the field right away. The rest of the crew is right out front here and the foremen speaks English. You can get started right away I'll drive you over there." He stammered a little and started backing out the door saying "Hey, thanks but I meant I'd like to work in the warehouse. I can't work in the field. I'll call you back later..." and practically ran out of the building.
    I stood there in shock for a minute before my temper flared. As he drove away I yelled, "But you said you and your family were HUNGRY!"
    I guess he wasn't THAT hungry.
  3. Carmella's Avatar
    That story is bullshit. My son would take a job like that in a heartbeat, if they advertised anywhere other than plac es where noone would see it.

    Point me to a website offering such a job. I have looked and can't find any such job discription anywhere on the internet.
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Point me to a website offering such a job. I have looked and can't find any such job discription anywhere on the internet."

    This is not a job search website it's an immigration blog.... just FYI!!! and just because you can't find it it does not mean is not true or it does not exist....
  5. Cathy's Avatar
    I agree that some farm jobs could be successfully filled by immigrants. However, the problem is that the U.S. immigration system is abused when workers do no follow the law and return to Mexico etc. at the end of the growing season and stay in US as illegal immigrants working in other industries. The problem is that illegal immigrants if they move out of the shadows and gain ammesty will be hired by employers who have refused to break the law but now can legally improve their bottom line with less expensive workers who my do the jobs of citizens better/equally well for less moeny (i.e the housekeeping supervisor (40K) could be replaced by cheaper experienced hotel worker who comes out of the shadows for (25K)
  6. Casual Blog Reader's Avatar
    As of today, July 5th, 2010, the ad is still shown in the archives of this job site
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