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broccoliharvesters Farmers Opposing GOP Sponsored E Verify Legislation

Mexican-American farm workers harvest broccoli March 12, 2009 near El Centro, California


This is NOT really a shocker.
Farmers across the country are rallying to fight a Republican-sponsored bill that would force them and all other employers to verify the legal immigration status of their workers, a move some say could imperil not only future harvests but also the agricultural community’s traditional support for conservative candidates.

The bill was proposed by Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. It would require farmers — who have long relied on a labor force of immigrants, a majority here without legal documents — to check all new hires through E-Verify, a federal database run by the Department of Homeland Security devised to ferret out illegal immigrants.

Farm laborers, required like other workers to show that they are authorized to take jobs in the United States, often present Social Security numbers and some form of picture ID. Employers, many of them labor contractors providing crews to farms, have not been required to check the information and are discouraged by antidiscrimination laws from looking at it too closely. But it is an open secret that many farmworkers’ documents are false.

Supporters of E-Verify, an electronic system that is currently mandatory for most federal contractors but voluntary for other employers, argue that it would eliminate any doubt about workers’ legal status. But farmers say it could cripple a $390 billion industry that relies on hundreds of thousands of willing, low-wage immigrant workers to pick, sort and package everything from avocados to zucchini.

“This would be an emergency, a dire, dire situation,” said Nancy Foster, president of the U.S. Apple Association, adding that the prospect of an E-Verify check would most likely mean that many immigrant workers would simply not show up. “We will end up closing down.”

You know, California agricultural interests have been getting a subsidized ride for decades in using illegal immigrations, primarily from Mexico, for harvesting their crops. Crops which pay them BIG MONEY.

Here is how it works.

The illegal immigrations who are migrant and with no papers are allowed to use either forged “Green Card” documents or NO documents in order to work in the fields for below market wages or at least really low wages for back-breaking hard manual labor. They receive in some cases housing and very little in the way of employee benefits that most of us receive. This all to the benefit of the wealth land owners and often corporate agricutural interests.

They can sell their crops for a cheaper price but, of course, their profit is good – very good.

When these illegal folks need health care or education for their children (who are born here as American citizens), the government provides them – not the employer.

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.

It is time for the Congress to pass E-Verify and end the BIG subsidy to the agricultural interests. If they cannot staff their fields with LEGAL workers, then they have some remedies.

One remedy would be increased mechanism and efficiency in the fields. Maybe if illegal immigrants did not work in the fields at such low wages, the AG interests would invest in machines to do the harvesting without the back-breaking labor.

Also, the Agricultural folks could seek Guest-Worker legislation in the Congress that identifies and returns workers to their country of origin after a period of time of working in the United States. Costs associated by these workers would be paid up front by the AG interests. Children born of these workers in the United States would NOT be considered native born citizens (although there might be a time consuming Constituional issue here) and would have to return with their parents after a period of time.

The prospects of a E-Verify mandate passing in the House this year is good. In the Democrat controlled Senate, not so good and I am positive President Obama would veto the legislation anyway.

Then, there is the pressure from the AG interests on the Republicans.

Mr. Smith’s E-Verify bill also includes a three-year grace period before growers would have to comply. But such caveats have done little to quell opposition from farm groups, who have been pleading for years for an overhaul to allow a legal immigrant work force.

And that discontent could manifest itself in elections, farm representatives warn.

“Most of our folks are Republicans,” said Paul Wenger, the president of the California Farm Bureau. “But if the Republicans do this to them without a workable worker program, it will change their voting patterns or at very least their involvement in politics.”

Democrat and Republican Members of Congress have turned a blind eye to illegal immigration and agriculture for decades, since before World War II. Money talks in politics and the AG folks spread their money around and have donated a lot to Republicans.

But, American voters understand that these farming companies are prospering to the detriment of the taxpayer and we now have huge social/financial costs dealing with the generations of illegal immigrants that have been allowed to come into this country.

The time to enforce immigration law is long past.

Unfortunately, it will not occur with mandatory E-Verify until after the 2012 Presidential election or even 2016, if Obama is re-elected President.

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  • Anonymous

    Are
    the lawmakers going to remain
    dumb like rows of Headhunters trophies with their lips stitched
    together on
    reducing illegal migrants and immigrants? Just one presidential
    candidate has
    the backbone to stand up against political propaganda, having the
    conviction to
    address this monolithic problem. That personage is Rep. Michele
    Bachmann,
    Caucus leader of the TEA PARTY and the only one who dares to establish
    a
    connection between the rapidly rising Treasury debt ceiling and the
    evermore
    support of the illegal aliens, who are congested schools, health care
    and millions
    of inroads to free programs, enacted by Liberals on Capitol hill. We as
    a country by keep on giving Citizens-legal residents entitlements to
    the invaders, will seed even more to come here. Churches especially an
    religious groups should stay out of this political morass, because the
    majority of Americans are angry from being forced to pay in supporting
    illegal aliens.

    The most progressive enforcement in 30 years will soon be debated in Washington
    and that is Chairman Lamar Smith’s ‘Legal Workforce Act’, known as H.R.2164.
    Known nationwide as E-Verify to the business community and the general public equally,
    it must be enacted as a mandatory measure. This is a SELF-DEPORT MECHANISM FOR ILLEGAL WORKERS, that is simple, electronic and with no cost to the business world.  Of
    course like anything else, the Leftist
    advocacy groups have tried to tear it apart, but mostly to no avail.
    Originally, when it came up for a vote over a year ago, good old
    Senator Harry
    Reid nearly got it tabled, but it squeezed through to the dismay of all
    his big
    corporate contributors and that was when the American public paid
    attention to
    it as a deterrent. Smith’s new law would reinstate the no-match letter
    program to help identify the 7 million illegal aliens currently holding
    non-agriculture jobs. Yes! There is always a need for high profile
    professional workers. No! We cannot support the poor other other
    nations, specially when our own desperate are suffering. It would
    require most employers to use E-Verify within
    two years of enactment. Large employers, federal, state, and local
    agencies and
    federal and state contractors would need to comply within six months.

    The only problem that I see is safeguards for the State of Arizona law, along
    with Georgia, Alabama, and other States that have enacted laws ahead of
    H.R.2164. WILL THESE STATE LAWS BE COMPROMISED BY A FEDERAL LAW? After the apprehension that Arizona was losing its shirt as upwards
    of $2 Billion, 569 Million annually from subsidizing the waves of illegal
    aliens coming across the unsecured border. (FAIR’S analysis.) This was the
    inception of the struggling American people’s peaceful revolt, against Capitol
    Hill, and each of the 50 States being crippled by foreign national’s fingers in
    the financial pie. Not just from those stealing across our borders, but the 40
    percent that takes in their mind, to illegally immigrate through airports
    arrivals or even from entering by boat or ferry. The United States has had an
    open border for way too long, and now with the crippling recession the whole
    illegal alien invasion has catapulted into one of the main political issues
    today. INTERESTING
    ENOUGH, THAT WHEN E-VERIFY BECOMES A PERMANENT LAW, HUNDREDS OF
    THOUSANDS WILL BE ON THEIR WAY HOME TO SOME OTHER NATION. BUT THE
    SECOND REVELATION IS, THEY WILL TAKE THEIR KIDS WITH THEM AND EMPTYING
    OUT OUR STATES OVERLOADED SCHOOL SYSTEM AND SAVING BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER
    MONEY.

    The Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2164)
    would:

    Phase in E-Verify over three years, starting with the
    largest companies first. Require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to
    target illegal aliens using fake social security numbers by sending out
    “no match” letters to employers if the name and social security number of
    a current employee do not match. Requires the employer to check those
    employees through E-Verify after receiving a “no match” letter. Require SSA to send a yearly notification to each owner
    of a social security number that has multiple employers reporting income
    to that number indicating that the number may have been stolen and is
    being used by illegal aliens. Requires employers to run through E-Verify
    those employees who are likely to have stolen the number from the
    legitimate owner. Establish a phone verification system as an alternative
    to using the electronic system. Require the use of E-Verify for those contracted at day
    labor sites and other referral or recruitment services. Protect employers who use the system in good faith from
    liability if the system makes an error on eligibility. Protect states’ and localities’ authority to revoke
    business licenses of employers who fail to use E-Verify as required by
    this Act. Significantly increases the penalties for employers who
    refuse to use the system, or who intentionally try to game it. The fines
    levied can be up to $25,000 per unauthorized worker and a minimum one-year
    prison sentence may be imposed on an employer who engages in a “pattern or
    practice” of violations. Require SSA to lock the use of social security numbers
    when it is being used by someone other than the rightful owner, when the
    owner has violated immigration laws and been ordered to leave the country,
    or when the owner’s temporary visa has expired.

    Only the
    true TEA PARTY leadership was borne from what is wrong with either the
    Leftist-Democrats or the far right Republicans. Like the Phoenix from the ashes
    of ultra Right, the Tea Party is a revolution for all citizens and legal immigrants,
    no matter their race or religious doctrine. They have watched their nation’s
    money being squandered in massive spending fiasco by the Obama administration,
    by the Bush presidency and others before him. The day of reckoning is upon
    us, with a massive $14.5 Trillion dollars deficit that is coming to a festering
    head now, and yet Liberals are pressing for another Amnesty. Under the Tea
    Party, a wing of the Republicans that have promised there will never be another
    amnesty, of which the 1986 giant citizenship law a fraudulent embarrassment.
    Its outcome was to drown all Americans in a 20 million plus population of
    foreigners without papers. Be mindful of the behemoth monetary consequences of
    any new immigration Reform packages, the Dream Act and the materialization of
    more Sanctuary Cities, has accelerated CHAIN MIGRATION, yearly. This is another
    expenditure that is added to federal and State deficits that is costing all
    taxpayers. However, the Tea Party is here to stay and will never retreat from
    the people’s interests, which extends to cutting out-of-control spending and a irrational
    tax system that is fair to everybody, with no loopholes for the wealthy.

    One
    of the most critical points that must be addressed, is non-citizens
    voting in our elections. In polling places and registration
    verifications, we must scrutinize carefully the voting rolls for all
    irregularities. Illegal Aliens have been voting and will again using
    mostly ABSENTEE BALLOTS.The Democrat Left progressives see no
    Constitutional differences in who votes in the United States.

    The secret is out that farmers want the same tired situation, of illegal immigrant
    workers just jumping the fence to pick their crops. What the farmers and the
    giant agri-corporate companies don’t release to the taxpayers, that they are–NOT–paying for the illegal workers health care
    and education for their children. It’s a simple solution, when an
    illegal worker gets sick, is to dump that person on the hospital steps
    or a pregnant wife in the same location. Farmers and the agrarian
    community want it both ways, cheap labor–but they expect the taxpayers
    to pay federal and State taxes  for all their nice free welfare
    programs. The Tea Party will end these travesties of our laws, so find a
    local group who believe in fair taxes for everybody, less government
    influence in our daily lives and a reduction in agencies in the US
    government. 

     

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