FAIR Testifies Before Senate Committee Regarding Farm Labor

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Yesterday, I testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, and Refugees. Here is my written testimony, and the video of the testimony is here. While I am appreciative of the opportunity to present my case to the Senators, it was disheartening to hear all the other witnesses declare without equivocation that Americans, all Americans, are unwilling to work as farm laborers, in spite of the fact that government data shows that around 30 percent of hired farm laborers are U.S. citizens.

According to Georgia’s Commissioner of Agriculture, lobbyists for agribusiness, and a representative of the United Farm Workers (UFW) the reasons why Americans will not take farm jobs is because they are lazy, out of shape, inflexible in their work habits, addicted to drugs or alcohol, dependent on welfare, and physically unsuited for working outdoors in summer heat. Mr. Arturo Rodriquez, speaking on behalf of the UFW testified that Americans are not skilled enough to prune plants and even incapable of picking crops without damaging them.

I was the only witness to argue the point that if agricultural employees paid a living wage to their workers, more Americans would be willing to take farm jobs. I also told the Senators that the effectiveness of H-2A program, or any other temporary guest worker program, cannot be accurately assessed as long as agricultural employers can continue to hire workers illegally. I did agree that criticisms by farmers that the H-2A program is too bureaucratic and time-consuming should be addressed by Congress. FAIR’s intent is to see the H-2A program used properly and in the most effective manner by employers.

My testimony outraged Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif .), which is not surprising considering the contributions she has received from the agribusiness lobby. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) offered as a solution, apparently in jest, that farms be air-conditioned in order to attract American workers. Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked me some substantive questions that demonstrated their understanding that the interests of agribusiness should not dominate U.S. immigration policy. Senator Blumenthal was receptive to the idea of holding employers who knowingly hire illegal workers criminally responsible as a way to curtail illegal immigration, though he also voiced support for a program that would legalize workers that are currently working illegally in the agriculture industry.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) made it very clear to the agribusiness panel that a low-wage foreign workforce is not something they have the right to demand. He also stated that any bill that included amnesty as part of guest worker reform could not pass the Senate. That was encouraging to hear. Hopefully, instead, Congress will focus on making E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. employers, and politicians in Washington, D.C., will support states’ efforts to ensure a legal workforce.

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  1. Pingback: Illegal immigrants take jobs from americans. - Page 2 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

  2. avatar

    http://mexicanoccupation.blogspot.com/2011/10/corrupt-sendianne-feinstein-again.html
    *

    FEINSTEIN IS ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT AND SELF-SERVING POLITICIANS IN AMERICAN HISTORY. SHE IS BUSH’S WAR PROFITEER, AND A MAJOR DONOR TO OBAMA, AS WELL AS BEING ENDORSED BY LA RAZA.
    FEINSTEIN HAS STATED THAT AMERICANS ARE “STUPID” FOR NOT WANTING AMNESTY. LIKE MOST LA RAZA DEMS, SHE HAS COUNTLESS PLOYS UP HER SLEEVE TO IMPOSE LA RAZA DEM AMNESTY THAT NOT ONE LEGAL VOTED FOR.
    AS FAR AS VOTING… FEINSTEIN AND HER CROOKED PARTNER BARBARA BOXER, HAVE LONG PUSHED FOR NO ENGLISH ONLY, AND NO I.D. SO LA RAZA ISN’T INCONVENIENCE WHEN THEY GO VOTING.
    ON BEHALF OF THEIR BIG AG BIZ DONORS, FEINSTEIN-BOXER HAVE TWICE PUSHED FOR A “SPECIAL AMNESTY” FOR MEXICAN FARM WORKERS. WHILE FEINSTEIN CLAIMS THIS IS NOT AN “AMNESTY”, SHE KNOWS BETTER! THESE ILLEGALS ARE WOULD SOON BE LA RAZA SUPREMACIST AND THE DEMOCRAT PARTY WILL JUMP THEIR HOOPS FOR THEIR ILLEGAL VOTES, AS WE SEE OBAMA DOING DAILY! BARBARA BOXER AND HARRY REID WERE BOTH REELECTED DESPITE THEIR HISTORIES OF CORRUPTION, BY THE VOTES OF ILLEGALS. REID AND OBAMA HAVE TURNED OVER MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS TO BANKROLL THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY of LA RAZA.
    FEINSTEIN BOXER HAVE TWICE PUSHED THIS “SPECIAL AMNESTY” DESPITE THE FACT THAT ONE-THIRD OF ALL MEXICAN FARM WORKERS END UP ON WELFARE. CA PUTS OUT $20 BILLION PER YEAR AGAINST DEFICITS OF $28 BILLION TO SUPPORT THE LA RAZA WELFARE STATE IN MEXIFORNIA (SEE THE BOOK – MEXIFORNIA: Shattering of the American Dream)
    FEINSTEIN’S STATE IS IN MELTDOWN DUE TO THE CRIMES OF BANKSTERS AND FORECLOSURE, AS WELL AS THE UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS. CRIMINAL BANKSTERS WELLS FARGO and BANK of AMERICA ARE TWO OF FEINSTEIN’S BIGGEST DONORS (SHE DOESN’T COUNT THE DEALS SHE PUSHES THROUGH THE SENATE ON BEHALF OF RED CHINA AS BRIBES FOR THESE ARE PAID INDIRECTLY TO HER HUSBAND, RICHARD C. BLUM).
    FEINSTEIN HAS LONG HIRED ILLEGALS AT HER S.F. HOTEL, NOT FAR FROM HER S$16 MILLION DOLLAR WAR PROFITEER’S MANSION.
    LA RAZA NANCY PELOSI, WHO LIED ALONGSIDE OBAMA CLAIMING OBAMAcare DID NOT INCLUDE LA RAZA, ALSO HIRES ILLEGALS AT HER ST. HELENA, NAPA WINERY, AND IS HEAVILY INVESTED IN COMPANIES THAT BENEFIT FROM THE DEPRESSED WAGES HORDES OF ILLEGALS, SUBSIDIZED BY WELFARE, BRING.
    WHILE YOU WILL NEVER HEAR FEINSTEIN OR BOXER TALKING ABOUT THE CRIMES OF THE BANKSTERS, THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS, OR THE STAGGERING UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS IN CALIFORNIA, THEY ARE VERY PROACTIVE IN PUSHING FOR OPEN BORDERS, NO E-VERIFY, AND OBAMA’S CONTINUED NON-ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS PROHIBITING THE EMPLOYMENT OF ILLEGALS, i.e. AMNESTY!!!
    THE DEMOCRAT PARTY IS THE PARTY OF BANKSTERS, AND LA RAZA. DID YOU VOTE FOR AMNESTY, OPEN BORDERS, NO E-VERIFY, AND NON-ENFORCEMENT???
    FOR MORE ON FEINSTEIN’S STAGGERING CORRUPTION, DO A SEARCH ON THE BLOG

  3. avatar

    Eric,
    You did a great job representing us, the rational citizens who want the government to stop importing slaves.
    Not enforcing the law for campaign contributions from agriculture is bribery and corruption.
    “guest worker” erodes the very foundation of citizenship, honor and duty to country.

  4. avatar

    Diane Feinstein is, and always will be a MORON when it comes to illegal immigrants as if she, and those like her have any hope of continued political careers they need to enable illegal immigrants to vote in the future. We are not inclined to allow that kind of corruption so she, and her ilk can return to office anywhere. The woman is demented.

  5. avatar

    http://www.BillionAmericans.com has a page on “Losing California” which is nothing but the facts. The one on Senator Feinstin declaring California “an immigration disaster” before the Senate Judiciary Com in 1995 may be of use.
    (S.F.Chron 3/15/95). Ask her if the state is better now with the continuing influx. Also, a report by Labor Market Info Div of CA Employment Devel. Dept in August 2003 showed 1.1 million farm workers in 2001 with 388,000 employment.
    Average yearly wage by vegetable farmers… $11,518.The report recommended better match of workers with jobs. Hope someone will pursue this as the ag industry continues to sell us out. As California goes, … Maggie

  6. avatar

    IS OBAMA REALLY THINKING OF “ECONOMIC IMPERATIVES”? OR THE ILLEGALS’ VOTES? WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT A PRESIDENT THAT HISPANDERS FOR ILLEGAL VOTES? THE ARE SIMPLY JOKES?

    In a speech at the Chamizal National Memorial, Obama also sought to link the challenge of illegal immigration with another major political concern: economic anxiety. He said immigration reform “is an economic imperative.”… “ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE” FOR WHOM? LET’S LOOK AT THE FACTS WE WILL NEVER HEAR FROM OBAMA: WE ARE MEXICO’S WELFARE, FREE BIRTHING, FREE EMERGENCY ROOM HEALTHCARE, JOBS AND JAILS PROGRAMS. THIS IS AN ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE FOR MEXICO, BECAUSE THAT NATION HAS MORE BILLIONAIRES THAN SAUDIS ARABIA! THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD IS NO LONGER BILL GATES, IT IS MEXICAN CARLOS SLIM.
    ALSO DEMANDING OBAMA’S NON-ENFORCEMENT AND BIT BY BIT AMNESTY IS THE U.S. CHAMBER of COMMERCE, THE FASCIST FRONT FOR BIG BUSINESS THAT DEMANDS WAGES BE DEPRESSED. MOST OF THE FORTUNE 500 ARE GENEROUS DONORS TO THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY of LA RAZA! IN FACT YOU ARE A DONOR TOO! OBAMA HANDS OVER A FORTUNE TO THIS MEXICAN SUPREMACIST ORGANIZATION BENT ON OPEN BORDERS AND PUSH 2 FOR ENGLISH!

  7. avatar
    Barbara Griffith on

    As I have been leaving this same comment in as many newspapers as I run into in Alabama. These farmers will not upgrade their farms. They claim that they need the illegal workers yet a large number of them will not spend the money on harvesters that can be run by a small number of workers. There are machines on the market that harvest tomato’s, cucumbers, carrots just about all of the vegetables that are grown in the US including strawberries. There are corn harvesters that need only a driver and a truck following along that the corn drops into. There is a machine that can harvest a whole field of blue berries with three workers riding on it putting boxes under the hopper to catch the berries and these people never touch the ground. One article I read yesterday had a farmer claiming that his berry crop will rot if he has no workers. What about this farmer buying one of the harvesters? Problem solved. These people have a mindset of the 1950’s. The farmers in Europe have used equipment like this for years and they have a much better return on the crops they grow. All of the farmers know all about this equipment they simply refuse to fully modernize their farms. If anyone wants to take a look at this machinery google it. I was surprised at how much is out there for sale.

  8. avatar

    Good job Eric.

    It’s pathetic but predictable that Feinstein is back peddling another one of her AgJobs amnesty schemes with the typical “crops RITF” stories, even before we have E-Verify in place and with Obama’s continued unwillingness to meaningfully enforce our immigration laws.

    And it looks like we’ll have to keep our eye again on Cornyn, who would sign onto an amnesty if he could get away with it.

    The American people, since at least June 2007, still say:

    NO AgJobs amnesty.

    NO Dream Act amnesty.

    NO “path to citizenship” amnesty

    Enforce current immigration laws; mandate E-Verify nationwide.

    • avatar

      USCIS Statistics from Fiscal Year 2010, indicate that of the 15,640,167 E-Verify cases submitted:
      • 98.3% were automatically confirmed as work authorized,
      • 0.3% were confirmed as work authorized after contesting and resolving an initial non-confirmation avenue available to all workers
      • 1.43% were not found work authorized (these would be illegal aliens or legal foreign visitors without a work permit — the very people E-Verify is designed to keep out of U.S. jobs)

      The so-called error rate is 0.3% which means that less than half of one percent of the people run through the system get a notice that they are not yet approved to work even though it turns out they do have the right to work.

      It’s mind-boggling why a capitalist society like ours should tolerate government subsides to American companies by insuring that such firms have access to endless supplies of cheap foreign labor. By holding down the natural wage growth in labor-intensive industries, illegal immigrants serve as subsidies for low-wage, low-productivity methods of conducting business, while retarding technological innovation and increased efficiencies.