Archive for the “Illegal Immigration” Category
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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According to the latest Gallup Poll.
More than half of Americans — 53% — say the need for government action this year to halt the flow of illegal immigrants at the borders is “extremely important,” the first time a majority have held this view in the four times Gallup has asked this question since 2006. Another 29% call it “very important” and 12% “moderately important,” while 7% say it is “not that important.”
The new results from a June 9-12 Gallup poll show an 11-point increase since May 2010 in the percentage rating the issue extremely important. This increase is seen about equally among various gender, race, age, and political party groups, as well as by region of the country.
Concern is slightly higher among men than women, among whites than nonwhites, and among older than among younger Americans. However, the biggest difference is seen by party, with 68% of Republicans rating border control extremely important, compared with 42% of Democrats.
And, what about the illegal immigrants who are already in the United States? There is a greater urgency to resolve the problem.
Here is the graph:
Plus, American continue to favor border control and a plan to halt the flow of illegal immigration rather than developing a plan for those illegal immigrants already here.
Most Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants who have worked and lived in the United States for years, to apply for citizenship under certain conditions. Or, in other words favor a path to citizenship rather than deportation.
In 2006, former president George W. Bush articulated his support for policies that would allow illegal immigrants already working in this country to apply for citizenship under certain conditions, and 61% of Americans agreed with him at that time. Despite the repeated failure of such bills to make it through Congress, nearly two-thirds of Americans, 64%, continue to support the proposal.
Additionally, 13% would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. for a limited time in order to work, while 21% favor deportation.
Majorities of Americans across all major subgroups favor creating a path for current illegal immigrants to become citizens, including 56% of Republicans, 62% of independents, and 76% of Democrats. Support is slightly higher in the West (at 70%) than in the South (59%), with support in the East (62%) and Midwest (65%) similar to the national average.
So, what are the implications?
Border control garners the majority of the support versus comprehensive immigration reform. The common GOP line on illegal immigration has been border control first. Then when it is working and can be certified by the Governors of border states with Mexico that it is, then and only then start talking about a plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already here.
I think it is also realistic to believe that going into the Presidential election year, there will be little movement on this issue.
Should a Republican President be elected in 2012 or the GOP takes control of the United States Senate, there may be a bill that emerges. But, if not, the issue will linger and the status quo will remain.
Great! First the United States Supreme Court orders California to release felons from prisons to relieve overcrowding and now illegal immigration activists in California are pushing a bill to remove California from the federal Secure Communities program.
California could become the fourth state to remove itself from a controversial federal immigration fingerprint check program, following recent moves by the governors of Massachusetts, New York and Illinois.
The state Senate’s Public Safety Committee has scheduled a hearing next week to consider AB 1081.
The measure would remove California’s 58 counties from the Secure Communities program, which uses biometric data from arrestees in local jails to search for illegal immigrants. Each county would then be free to negotiate its own terms for participating in federal immigration checks.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials contend that local agencies are required to participate in Secure Communities. City and county law enforcement officials send arrestees’ fingerprints electronically to federal immigration agents, then hold identified illegal immigrants until ICE can pick them up.
ICE had taken custody of nearly 72,000 people from California county jails in the past two years, through February. Federal data shows that a third of those illegal immigrants previously had been convicted of a serious offense. However, 28 percent of those booked through Secure Communities had no prior criminal record.
Either you enforce the immigration laws or you change them, but do not ignore them like some “sanctuary cities” in California do. Here is another case where left-wing politicos in San Francisco, a sanctuary city/county for illegal aliens want to ignore federal law. As Attorney General Jerry Brown blocked the San Francisco sheriff from opting out of the immigration program. He argued that the Secure Communities program is not voluntary.
Brown should veto this bill.
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According to the latest Rasmussen Poll.
The U.S. Supreme Court late last week upheld the legality of an Arizona law cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, and most voters support having a similar law in their own state.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a law in their state that would shut down companies that knowingly and repeatedly hire illegal immigrants. Just 21% oppose such a law, and another 18% are undecided.
Eighty-two percent (82%) think businesses should be required to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to determine if a potential employee is in the country legally. Twelve percent (12%) disagree and oppose such a requirement.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters also feel that landlords should be required to check and make sure a potential renter is in the country legally before renting them an apartment. Twenty-eight percent (28%) do not believe landlords should be required to make such checks.
E-Verify and enforcement against businesses who are repeat offenders will end some of the employment magnet.for illegal immigrants, particularly from Mexico. There is no reason why these businesses should be avoiding their burden of complying with immigration law.
The Congress should immediately require E-verify for all employment, in place of the I-9 requirement. If not, then the states should implement the program and pass laws to more stringently punish employers for repeatedly violating the law.
Now, whether the states will take it upon themselves to do it, is another matter. I cannot forsee California ever passing such legistation. The agriculture lobby in Sacramento is too strong.
The ruling came down from SCOTUS this morning.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that harshly penalizes businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
In a ruling that could exert pressure on Congress and other states, the court in what amounts to a 5-3 decision declared that Arizona’s law fits within the state’s powers and does not infringe on federal turf. .
“Arizona hopes that its law will result in more effective enforcement of the prohibition on employing unauthorized aliens,” Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. wrote, adding that “the Arizona regulation does not otherwise conflict with federal law.”
The highly anticipated decision keeps intact the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act. Employers could have their business licenses suspended or revoked for hiring illegal immigrants, under the law.
The law also requires Arizona employers to use a federal program called E-Verify to check the immigration status of potential workers. Justices likewise upheld this provision, with Robert calling it “entirely consistent” with federal law.
The decision affirms the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had likewise upheld the state law. It is a defeat for the politically powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration, both of which had opposed the Arizona law.
Now, the House needs to get busy in mandating E-Verify for all employment in the United States. Big corporate business have been dumping their employment problems on American taxpayers for decades and it is time to stop.
Want to bet that with E-Verify, there will be more jobs available for legal resident Americans?
And, if the Congress, does not act or President Obama vetoes the legislation, then the states should take up the issue and pass their own laws.
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