GOP Sen. Mike Crapo has opened the Senate’s door to a huge agricultural amnesty that would replace many American farmworkers with an international pipeline that delivers cheap, compliant foreign workers to agriculture companies plus many new voters to Democrats.
The announcement from Crapo came one day after Democrats and lobbyists won just 30 GOP votes for the House version of the amnesty — down from 34 GOP votes in 2019.
“House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is an important step toward bringing certainty to our country’s agriculture industry and the hard-working producers and farmworkers,” a statement read from Crapo and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who was an original sponsor of the 2013 “Gang of Eight” amnesty that cost the Democrats five Senate seats in 2014. Three of the four GOP co-sponsors are no longer in the Senate.
The statement continued: “We will work together to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate that appropriately addresses the needs of both the industry and the farmworkers that uphold it.”
The announcement indicates pro-amnesty groups are working hard behind the scenes to secretly sign up GOP senators for various amnesty, migration, and visa-worker bills. When ready, the bills — and their Senate supporters — may be combined to give the Democrats at least 10 GOP votes for a huge amnesty bill that would lock in the coastal Democrats’ political dominance — and allow them to ignore pleas from small red states — for many years.
Crapo’s office did not respond to questions from Breitbart News.
Last week, Breitbart News revealed that Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has drafted an amnesty plan.
Other GOP Senators are talking up a deal. On November 19, for example, retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) suggested he could back a deal. On a visit to the border with President Joe Biden’s Homeland Security secretary, Portman told Fox News:
We also talked to some of the people who they apprehended, and they all told me the same thing, which is they can make a lot more money here in this country than they can back home. That’s understandable, but we have a legal system to be able to do that. That increase is something we’ve got to deal with. We’ve got to change some of the rules, but also we’ve got to help the Border Patrol to do their job.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is currently opening up many side doors in the nation’s immigration laws and is encouraging a huge wave of poor migrants to enter Americans’ national labor market, housing market, and K-12 schools.
30 GOP Reps voted for the farm amnesty & cheap-labor bill, down from 34 votes in 2019, amid more biz pressure.
The bill would turn much of rural US into low-wage company towns.
But the main goal is to entice rural GOP Sens into a comprehensive amnesty.https://t.co/gmtX06biZv
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 19, 2021
The agriculture bill was drafted in 2019 as a corporatist swap — cheap, compliant imported labor for the farm industry in exchange for imported votes for Democrats.
The bill would amnesty at least 1 million hardworking but illegally present farmworkers — plus their families — most of whom are expected to vote for Democrats. If the process is poorly monitored, like the 1986 amnesty was, many migrants would be tempted to get green cards by fraud.
Farm companies expect the amnestied workers to move to cities and towns. So, the bill allows farm companies to replace the the amnestied workers with an unlimited supply of imported, low-wage H-2A visa workers for a very wide variety of farm and food-industry jobs.
The bill would cut wages for the H-2A workers, but it allows the farm companies to pay their H-2A foreign workers with bonuses of 40,000 family-packets of Americans’ green cards each year.
“The bill implements a wage freeze for the year 2020 [for 250,000 H-2A visa workers],” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said in November 2019 after the bill was drafted. She described the corporatist swap, saying:
This is a very important matter for employers, [and] wages are expected to increase by another seven to eight percent next year. Under this bill, those wage increases won’t happen.
These are significant wage reforms — a recent report by the CATO institute found that the bill, if enacted, would have saved farmers $324 million in labor expenses in 2019 alone.
“I would prefer that these wage concessions were not in the bill,” Lofgren said. “It is a compromise that allows additional [migrant] people to come in to meet the growing [worker] needs of our agriculture sector.”
The nation’s farm industry includes at least 1 million illegal farmworkers, many of whom survive on short-term contracts, such as stoop-labor harvesting and fruit picking. But the industry also includes at least 1 million American farmworkers — including many legal immigrants — who often operate productivity-maximizing machines at farms or food processing facilities. Those American farmworkers could be sidelined when farm companies can hire an endless supply of underpaid, rightless, disposable, temporary H-2A workers.
“It is just another scheme for the United States government to provide perpetual cheap, immobile agricultural labor [so farm companies] can extract as much profit as possible, to disincentivize any form of technological developments in the agricultural sector, and to continue to reward the bad actors that hire illegal aliens,” said Rob Law, the director of regulatory affairs and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.
The agriculture amnesty will also hurt many young Idahoans by creating a “serfdom” economy in rural states, he said. “The reliance on cheap foreign agricultural workers is a serfdom economy, and it basically is a message saying, ‘Americans need not apply,'” he said.
The bill would transfer many skilled jobs from Americans — including legal immigrants — over to cheap H-2A visa workers, he said. The loss of jobs will force young people out and drain payroll spending and tax receipts in many towns, he said:
If you have no jobs in your community, all you’re going to do is get up and leave … There will be an absolute max out — this is the latest example of the seduction of perceived short-term gain and missing the big, long-term costs. This is going to create a decaying of these state and local economies.
What the [amnesty supporters] are really doing is they’re destroying their constituents, they’re destroying their communities, they’re destroying their economy, and they’re destroying their political power.
Many farms are already using the H-2A program to import skilled foreign workers for jobs that would be eagerly filled by well-paid American machine operators.
“The South African workers we’ve brought over differ from some of the employees we’ve had in the past in that they are dependable,” South Dakota farmer Mike Brosnan told Hayandforage.com, adding:
They always show up on time and hardly complain about anything. They’re here to earn money, and they know how to hustle. There’s always an exception out there, but most of them have a very good work ethic.
The mega-amnesty pushed by Democrats on January 20 has distracted the media and voters from the harms that could be caused by the Democrats’ other draft amnesties, such as the farm bill or proposed amnesty for at least 2 million illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by illegal-migrant parents, Law said. “It was so outrageous that what it has now done is made the smaller amnesties look reasonable in comparison.”
“It makes no sense why any Republican would want to sign on to the Democrat amnesty proposal right now,” said Law. “It would render Republicans — and particularly those from the rural states –completely powerless because no-one [in Congress] will have any care about what they have to say ever again. If they approve the amnesties, they will be selling away their entire influence to get nothing meaningful out of it.”
Aided by President Donald Trump’s lower-immigration policies, farmworker wages have been rising in recent years. The wage raises are pressuring companies to invest in high-tech farming gear that maximizes productivity, reduces waste, and minimize the environmental impact of farming:
Fruit companies also stepped up investment in fruit-picking technology: