Monday, July 16, 2007

Senate and House Re-introduce Massive Amnesty for Illegal Aliens Working in Agriculture

Senate and House Re-introduce Massive Amnesty for Illegal Aliens Working in Agriculture

AgJOBS bills, which would provide amnesty to illegal alien farm workers, were re-introduced in the Senate and House. S. 237, S. 340, and H.R. 371 – sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) respectively – would identify “vacant” agricultural jobs that could be filled by as many as 1.5 million illegal aliens and new foreigners over five years.

Click here to read a brief overview of the AgJobs amnesty

Under the provisions of these bills, illegal alien farm workers would be able to obtain a “blue card” granting temporary legal status for themselves and their families if they could show they have worked in the U.S. at least 863 hours or 150 work days (5.75 hours constituting a work day) during the preceding two years. Subsequently, to apply for legal residency, they must demonstrate that they have worked in agriculture here: (1) 100 work days per year each of the first five years following enactment; (2) 150 work days per year each of the first three years following enactment; or (3) over the course of the first four years after enactment, 150 work days per year for three of those years and 100 work days for the other.

The Senate passed AgJOBS legislation as part of its “comprehensive” immigration bill (S. 2611) last May, but the measure died when the House refused to take it up before adjournment. In addition, both the House and Senate saw stand-alone AgJOBS measures (H.R. 884 and S. 359) introduced during the 109th Congress.

Widely touted as a “guest worker” proposal, AgJOBS is an amnesty that would reward people who have violated U.S. immigration laws, and it would invite past violators to return to and encourage new illegal aliens to enter the United States. “AgJOBS is unpopular with voters and costly to taxpayers; it will encourage illegal immigration, invite fraud, and overwhelm adjudicators without providing a stable, legal agriculture workforce,” said Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA.

Amnesty for estimated 3 million

Of the 1.2 million illegal aliens currently working in agriculture, an estimated 860,000 plus their spouses and children could qualify for this amnesty, so the total could reach three million or more.

Past amnesty for agricultural workers failed

The 1986 Special Agriculuture Worker (SAW) amnesty showed that when illegal aliens working in agriculture are given green cards, they leave agriculture for other higher-paying occupations. And any form of amnesty entices hundreds of thousands of new illegal aliens, some of whom will work in agriculture, to enter thus continuing to depress wages in all fields including agriculture.

Bill would doom agricultural workers to poverty

AgJOBS legislation would ensure that agricultural workers will never be paid more than minimun wage. Furthermore, it would ensure that taxpayers continue having to subsidize the workers and their families by providing public benefits of education, emergency health care, and income supplements (including tax refunds) for the workers and their families.

Agricultural workers already unemployed

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 107,000 American agricultural workers were unemployed in April 2004. Furthermore, low-skilled workers, many capable of agricultural work, have been the hardest hit by the recent high unemployment. The unemployment rate is almost a third higher for those American workers without a high-school diploma. In February 2004, Alan Greenspan announced that America has an oversupply of low-skilled, low-educated workers. (“Greenspan Calls for Better-Educated Workforce,” Washington Post, 21 February 2004).

Congressional Immigration Action Center
Amnesty for agricultural workers
Amnesty and Guestworker/amnesty
Reducing legal immigration
State and local police in immigration law enforcement
Totalization — Social Security for illegal aliens
Workplace verification / Block illegal workers
Previous Hot Topics:
Immigration-related recommendations of the 9-11 Commission
Matricula Consular
Key Statistics
U.S. Amnesties for Illegal Aliens
Since 1986, Congress has passed 7 amnesties for illegal aliens
POLLS: A majority of Americans oppose amnesty

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