Tucker Carlson to Agriculture Lobby: ‘If You Want Workers, Pay U.S. Wages’

H2-B Agricultural Workers Getty Images
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The agricultural industry should stop importing more foreign workers to take blue-collar jobs while 22 million Americans are out of work, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson says.

During a segment this week, Carlson detailed a reported plan by the Agriculture Department and the White House to lower the wage rates currently mandated in the H-2A visa program that continues to import thousands of foreign farm workers who are paid less than their American counterparts. Carlson said:

America is now facing its greatest jobs crisis since the Great Depression and in the past month, more than 1-in-10 American workers have lost a job. Getting our people back to work must be our top national goal period. Poverty, over time, will kill more Americans and destroy more American families than any virus ever could. Yet amazingly, some of our country’s leaders are working tonight to remain certain American workers remain unemployed.

The plan would allow American farms to pay H-2A foreign visa workers wages below existing rates. The wage reduction policy would be coupled with the State Department’s fast-tracking of H-2A foreign visa workers — a program with no numerical limits — into the U.S. and allowing those workers to stay in the country for more than three years.

A spokesperson told Carlson in a statement that “long-standing challenges facing the agriculture industry … have been exacerbated by these uncertain times.” Carlson said:

If federal bureaucrats want to make sure the crops are picked and the food supply is secure, and those are good goals, there are other things they could do. They could even help out of work Americans get temporary jobs on farms if they wanted. They could subsidize their wages for the duration of this disaster. And there are other options, but those options are being ignored.

Carlson continued:

And the irony is, the same people who want an endless torrent of foreigners working here — and a lot of them work in think tanks, many in the federal government — happen to be the same people happy to lecture you and the rest of us about the ‘sacred efficiency of markets.’ Right now it turns out, there is no labor shortage in the United States — just the opposite. We are drowning in available workers, millions of them. Maybe 20 million. [Emphasis added]

If agriculture companies are struggling to find employees right now, it could possible they’re not paying enough because that’s how markets work. Remember, supply and demand. Our leaders know this well because they’ve spent years lecturing the rest of us about how ‘the unemployed should adapt to the market’ every time their factories close and their job gets outsourced to China because McKinsey recommended it. So how about following their own rules for once? If you want workers, pay them American wages. The rest of us would be happy to buy slightly more expensive lettuce. [Emphasis added]

Leading economic nationalists like Laura Ingraham and Jeff Sessions have called on the Trump administration to halt all immigration to the U.S. in the midst of mass unemployed spurred by the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

Pro-American worker organizations like FAIR are pleading with Congress to incentivize the agriculture industry to automate and mechanize rather than import a foreign workforce at below-average wages.

As federal data shows, American farmers do not wholly rely on H-2A foreign visa workers to take agricultural jobs. H-2A foreign visa workers make up only about ten percent of the total U.S. crop farm workforce. Last year, U.S. farmers hired roughly 250,000 H-2A foreign visa workers.

Pausing immigration during a time of mass unemployment would not be unprecedented. During the Great Depression, legal immigration levels dipped below 100,000 annual admissions for almost 15 years. Between 1947 to 1967, annual admissions did not exceed 400,000.

Such a pause would come after four decades of mass legal immigration to the U.S., where at least 525,000 nationals have been admitted annually. Since 1980, immigration levels have hovered around one million. The historically high admission rate means the U.S. has the most expansive immigration policy in the world.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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