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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

FARMERS NEED IMMIGRATION RELIEF

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While a mass legalization program for illegal aliens is not in the cards this year, a smaller program called AgJobs may have a better chance. AgJobs is a program that will legalize the nations undocumented migrant farmworkers. The most hard-line anti-immigrants will no doubt oppose AgJobs. But many moderates are likely to support simply because there are not enough Americans remotely interested in doing the work and the country doesn't want to face the prospect of having to import food. We've seen in the case of oil what happens when we become dependent on imports to meet a vital need. Americans are not prepared to pay $10 for a head of lettuce, but that is what's coming if we scare off the farmworkers and have no plan in place. A

Vermont television station shows how local farmers are taking the news. This story is no doubt playing out all over the country.



AgJobs is likely to come up for a vote in the coming days. Urge your Congressman to support AgJobs if you enjoy milk and lettuce at reasonable price level.

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Comments

  1. jack's Avatar
    Aren't they subsidized by the government not to produce so the price doesn't go down, anyway?
  2. Mike's Avatar
    FARMERS DO NOT NEED IMMIGRATION RELIEF

    There are over 20 million illegal migrant workers in this country. They will not work in the fields because they can get better pay in construction, factories and service jobs. In other words the illegal migrants are moving up the ladder. The farmers want a system that generates a free flow of new illigal migrants that are willing to work for low pay in the fields. Of course this system will have to be able to generate a new batch of workers every 4 or 5 years as the current batch will move up the ladder into construction, factories and service jobs and beyond.
    The solution for the farmers and the country is to allow them in the farming sector only.
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Mike - I believe they do have a lengthy period of time they have to work in farming on a probationary card before they can get permanent residency. At least that was in previous versions of the bill. If that is the case, I would presume that you'll at least be partially satisfied. You can't tell someone they can only work in farming for the rest of their life, however. We did away with that sort of mandate 150 years ago after a war.
  4. David's Avatar
    Just curious. Why do you think imports can increase the prices of the foods.

    The only benefit, in my mind, is to keep the jobs in US, but so what? Americans do not want to do these jobs, and farmers do not want to increase the pay rate.

    If concerns of quality, beef, chicken, even spinach all ever had serious problems.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    David - I don't think you understood my point. If you don't want to be dependent on imported food, you need to have the labor to grow our own. Without migrant labor, we'll be looking at very expensive food since it will either be in short supply or American workers will demand much, much higher wages that will be passed on to consumers.

    We can also just import cheap food. But I would be pretty nervous about going down the road of depending too much on other nations to feed our people.
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