GOP Politicians Draft Farm Sector Amnesty with Democrats

H-2A
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Republican legislators are working with Democrats to pass an amnesty for roughly one million illegal migrant farm laborers, according to a top Democrat staffer.

“We have been working on on a package that both provides a good legalization program for undocumented farmworkers to come out of the shadows,” said David Shahoulian, a top staffer on the Democrat-run House Judiciary committee.

In exchange for providing the Democrat Party with a new population of government-dependent voters, the GOP’s farm companies would get cheap, flexible, and legal labor, according to the Democrat staffer.

The deal “provides reforms to the H-2A [uncapped visa worker] program to make it kind of a more streamlined program, kind of an easier to use, you know, kind of more business-friendly-but-still-protect-workers kind of program,” he told an October 7 meeting of migration advocates at Georgetown University.

The deal is “a typical unholy alliance between the cheap-labor [business] interests and the more-migration [political] interests,” responded Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. It shows that the Democrats are willing to “abandon their interest in protecting guest workers in order to get an amnesty,” she added.

The bipartisan voters-for-cheap-labor swap may be announced very soon and then put on a fast track to the Senate.

Shahoulian provided few details of the deal except that it would cover one million farmworkers.

Several farmworker proposals in 2017 and 2018 allowed many illegal aliens to transition into legal guest workers before getting green cards and citizenship.

The bipartisan plans also assumed that farmworkers would quickly migrate away from the farms to urban jobs where they would help reduce wages for Americans in urban jobs. So the deals allowed farm companies to import at least one million replacement farmworkers via the existing H-2A or projected H-2C visa programs.

Those deals allowed the migrant workers to take jobs in the broadly defined food sector, perhaps allowing them to replace blue-collar Americans in meatpacking plants, food-processing facilities, and even food-distribution tasks. However, those deals failed because the GOP’s voter base is increasingly aware of the economic impact of cheap labor migration.

Republican Senator and House members from agricultural states are backing the “legalization” deal, Shahoulian said:

There are some important Republican senators who are in discussions with us and the Republicans that we’re speaking to and who are rooting for us, who know what our package looks like and would like to see it come out of the House, and they think they can take it over there.

Now, you know, will [Majority Leader Sen. Mitch] McConnell let it go to the floor? Will will this president and Steven Miller see it, and, you know — excuse my language — crap all over it and kill it? Yeah, I mean, that’s very possible, but you gotta try.

The cooperative GOP legislators likely include Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford and U.S. representatives from dairy districts, Vaughan said.

The deal is likely also backed by pro-business factions in Trump’s White House, said Vaughan. Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of Agriculture, and Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, have a long history of supporting cheap labor programs for agricultural companies, she said.

Many farm companies dislike the H-2A program, which allows employers to import temporary workers for up to $15.00 per hour of work. There is no cap on the program, which grew slowly from 16,000 in 1997 to up to 90,000 in 2014.

But Trump’s combination of a growing economy and “Hire American” policies are nudging up wages — even for illegal aliens. In response, farm companies rushed to hire 243,000 H-2A workers in 2018.

Trump’s wage increases are also pressuring farm companies to develop and order American-made, labor-saving machinery, including strawberry picking and cow milking robots. However, the federal government does little to promote the use of labor-saving robots.

Republicans who back the amnesty will cripple Trump, their GOP colleagues, and their voters, Vaughan warned:

This is the folly of Republicans who live in agriculture areas who think that it is a good idea or a smart strategy to serve agriculture interests. Ultimately they are going to put themselves and their party out of a job because of the demographic effects and likely political effects down the line … In the long term, it is a disaster for their party, their own ability to stay in power, and for their constituents.

Trump should override the business faction in the GOP to block the Democrats’ push for a farmworker amnesty, she said.

He should not be signing off on any guest worker or legal immigration deals before the border and enforcement problems are under better control. It does not matter what the rules are for any new deal if the rules are not getting enforced anyway. [Also] he’s giving away his best bargaining chips and leaving himself without any leverage to get the needed enforcement [in a 2021 deal]. Why would he make a [2019] deal like this before he has his budget for DHS? Before he has what he needs for funding interior enforcement?”

The agriculture bill is just one of several migration bills being pushed quietly by Democrats.

In June, Democrats passed their “DREAM” act bill to amnesty the population of approximately three million youths and adults who were brought into the country by their migrant parents.

Democrats are using the same cheap-labor-for-voters strategy to pass a law offering fast track green cards to Indian college graduates who use H-1B visas to take jobs from American graduates. The House’s green card giveaway bill, guided by Shahoulian, passed the House with 140 GOP votes in July amid silence from the media establishment.

GOP Sen. Mike Lee is trying to push a matching bill through the Senate amid silence from GOP Senators and conditional opposition from Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin.

Since 1990, the promise of green cards in exchange for college graduate labor has helped bring roughly four million Indians into the United States. The Indian immigrants have a high income, naturally align with the pro-diversity Democrat Party, and are now becoming a political factor, especially in Texas. For example, Texas’s 22nd district was once the GOP power base for former House Majority Leader Rep. Tom Delay. It is now a “majority-minority” district in which Indian and Chinese immigrants may help elect the son of an Indian immigrant to Congress in November 2020.

The U.S. has a resident population of roughly 1.5 million college graduate visa workers who have forced down salaries for American college graduates. This massive subsidy for brand name employers, such as Amazon and Facebook, is largely ignored by the college graduates who work as journalists in the established media.

So far, no GOP senator has announced opposition to Lee’s S.368 green card giveaway bill. The bill is backed by Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, WalMart, and other business groups that want to expand their business in India.

Democrats must focus on single-sector bills because of Trump’s 2016 election, Shahoulian told the pro-migrant progressives at the Georgetown conference:

You know, we’ve always put everything all together and always, you know, kind of attacked the issue comprehensively. As you know, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” is the catchword … There was a realization after this administration [got elected] that that was not likely. And so there have now been attempts to try to move things in a more piecemeal kind of fashion, the DREAM Act being one of those things.

Shahoulian told Democrats at the Georgetown event that Democrats must offer incentives to get cooperation from GOP legislators. But he provided a very skewed portrayal of the motivations:

Many of you know this is the way I think: Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives are kind of wired differently, right? We [Democrats] are wired to be justice-oriented and outcome-orientated, like what’s the just outcome? How do we get there? And how do we interpret the law to make sure that is it results in the most just outcome?

Republicans really come at it by saying, “What are the rules? You know, it’s black and white. And did you follow the rules or not follow the rules? What does the law say, and what doesn’t it say?” That’s just that’s the way they approach the issues. Once you understand that they have a real legitimate — some of them are motivated by other things — but those who are motivated by just the rule of law.

You have to figure out how to deal with that. They get that the rules were antiquated and that there weren’t pathways, legal pathways, to really meet our economic needs. But you still have to recognize that people did something unlawful or are here unlawfully.

But business groups — and their allies among GOP politicians — merely use this “legal good/illegal bad” claim as a political fig leaf to conceal their eagerness to hire cheap migrants instead of Americans, Vaughan said.

Conservative Americans “care about the effects of the visa programs on their employment prospects, their taxes, and their communities,” as their ethical priorities expand in circles around their own family, their community, the nation, and then to foreign peoples, she said.

Shahoulians’s claim to be “justice-oriented,” however, did not mention that Democrats’ sense of justice telescopes out beyond Americans’ concerns about their careers and families. In contrast to conservatives’ expanding circles of concern, progressives’ universalist mindset causes them to prefer caring about the distant peoples from Central America, India, and Africa. This mindset also encourages progressives to prefer foreigners who can strengthen the pro-diversity political party in the United States.

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