May 18, 2008

What Does Amnesty for Undocumented Farm Workers Have to Do with the Funding of our Action in Iraq?

Monique Chartier

Add Senator Larry Craig to Donald's list of Republicans who have gotten off track, in this case, by participating in the attempt to pass amnesty piecemeal.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday added to an Iraq spending bill a controversial provision to help pave the way for undocumented agriculture workers to win legal status, a move that may reopen the divisive immigration debate on the Senate floor.

The so-called Ag-Jobs amendment, sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho), would create a process that allows undocumented workers to continue to work on farms. Without the amendment, Feinstein warned that the U.S. would lose $5-9 billion to foreign competition, tens of thousands of farms would shut down and 80,000 workers would be transferred to Mexico. The bill would sunset in five years.

Agriculture needs a consistent workforce," Feinstein said. "Without it, they can't plant, they can't prune, they can't pick and they can't pack.

"This is an emergency situation," she added.

The prior failure of your branch of government to act responsibly in this matter does not constitute an emergency, Senator. Put me down as agreeing for once with Senator Robert Byrd (D) on both substance and procedure.

"No matter how one characterizes it, this enormous amendment still amounts to amnesty," said Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). "I oppose amnesty. All these immigration issues should be addressed through the regular order."

The one encouraging note is that the 17-12 vote that brought this amendment out of committee was not along party lines. Perhaps there will be a sufficient number of responsible, long-sighted lawmakers in both parties to decry and/or derail this sneakiness.

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You ask the common sense question: "What Does Amnesty for Undocumented Farm Workers Have to Do with the Funding of our Action in Iraq."

The answer is NOTHING.

And that is why we need to replace every one of our elected reps that participate in this type of nonsense.

Elected officials that pull this BS, along with earmarks and other political games need to be exposed at the local level and then we need to hound them right out of office.

We need a Zero tolerance rule. Make an example out of two or three of them by exposing them, hounding them and voting them out, and the rest will hopefully begin to fall in line.

And sadly, as Ralph Nader told us long ago, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the Demorcrats and the Republicans when it comes to playing these games.

Posted by: George Elbow at May 18, 2008 2:33 PM

The 1987 Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty act was riuned at its inception by the so-called "Panetta amendment"introduced by the Rep Leon Panetta(D-CA)that gave 'agricultural workers"who had been in the US for 90 days the same status as amnesty applicants who had been here the requisite 7 years.This was a case of illegals jumping the line on other illegals-can you believe this crap?Well,it happened.The amendment made sense for Panetta who represented a lot of winery country agribusiness-it was supported strongly by Schumer and Kennedy.back then,Schumer was a Confressman from Brooklyn and the only agribusiness in his district was the produce section of a supermarket,and in Kennedy's case,how much of a farm state is Mass.?There must've been a major back rub for Schumer in there someplace.The end result was massive fraud.And people wonder why I oppose this phony "comprehensive" immigration reform and "pathway to citiozenship"?Same s*t in a different package.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 18, 2008 5:51 PM

Braceros program. Bring it back and bring them out of the shadows as guest workers.

Why be devious about it? Why sneak it into completely unrelated bills? Why assume that they want to be here permanently or that we want them to?

Are there any kids who want to work in agriculture? Are there enough living close enough to farms to make it feasible, assuming they would be willing? Answers are no and no. When I tell my kids about picking apples in upstate NY, I might as well be talking about riding to school on a magick steam engine.

Posted by: chuckR at May 18, 2008 6:19 PM

The bracero program was before my time in the INS,but occasionally I would run into aliens who had their old bracero cards.
Nowadays people want to come here with their families and stay.The old ebb and flow of aliens,particulary Mexicans,has pretty much disappeared in the present day and has been replaced by population shift.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 18, 2008 6:29 PM

Joe -

The bracero program is a little before my time too. ;) I still think it would be worthwhile exploring, with the understanding that they could still go through the legal immigration process. I understand the desire to have their families with them -many of the migrant workers where I grew up traveled with their families - a hard life. But could a bracero program be worse than the exploitation and conditions they face now?

Posted by: chuckR at May 18, 2008 9:21 PM

We have had guest workers for decades in RI-Jamaicans who work in the apple orchards-they are paid decent wages,not exploited and return home routinely.i can't recall a single violator in the 12 years I was assigned to RI.The guet worker program could work,but bringing in families sets up a situation of potential permanency-the "advocates"will dream up new rights and go running to the courts and you know how that plays out.But the concept isn't bad-the wages can't be artificially low,however, in order to freeze out those citizens and permanent residents who want the jobs.It wouldn't be easy to manage,that's for sure.The whole immigration situation is completely out of control and the blame falls on both major parties equally.

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 18, 2008 9:36 PM


The same was true of the guest workers on upstate NY farms. I guess I was thinking of those in raided sweatshops and slaughterhouses that we see linked in Drudge - not truly agricultural workers.

Posted by: chuckR at May 18, 2008 9:59 PM

I don't want to hear any tasteless joke about the senator from Montana taking a wide stance in immigration.

Posted by: rhody at May 18, 2008 11:32 PM

Amnesty Yes!

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 19, 2008 7:56 PM

... must ... control ... self ...

... must ... not ... answer ... Rhody ...

Posted by: Monique at May 19, 2008 8:16 PM

nor arturo

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 19, 2008 9:48 PM

Obama 08!

Posted by: arturo fernandez at May 19, 2008 9:53 PM
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