Former Bush Officials: Amnesty for Illegal Aliens ‘Vital to the Future’ of American Economy

Fernando Llerenas picks pears in Hood River, Oregon on August 13, 2021. - Amid an abnormal

Former officials who worked in the George W. Bush administration are calling on Republicans and Democrats to provide amnesty for illegal aliens, suggesting the policy is “vital to the future” of the American economy.

Chuck Conner, Bush’s former agriculture secretary, and Douglas Baker, Bush’s former senior director for border and transportation security policy, are lobbying lawmakers to back the Farm Workforce Modernization Act — an amnesty that would give green cards to as many as 2.1 million illegal aliens who work on United States farms.

In an op-ed for Fox News, Conner and Baker wrote:

As former officials who served in the Bush administration, we see an urgent need to address the labor shortage in the agricultural industry by fixing our immigration system. That would allow farmworkers to contribute to the economy free from uncertainty and fear and keep food on the tables of America’s families at lower costs. [Emphasis added]

Last year, the House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act on a bipartisan basis. The bill was a compromise solution that would permit undocumented farmworkers to earn legal status through continued employment in the agricultural sector and would make critical reforms to the H-2A agricultural guest worker program, including streamlining the application process, and allowing for year-round temporary agricultural workers. [Emphasis added]

When the Senate passes a bipartisan immigration solution for the agricultural sector, it will not only address a looming crisis, but it will send a message to millions of farmers and ranchers during a period of tremendous uncertainty in rural America. Let’s not get stymied by the partisan gridlock in Washington. A bipartisan immigration solution for farmworkers represents a unique opportunity to make progress on a priority that is vital to the future of agriculture and our economy. [Emphasis added]

Last year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied lawmakers to pass the farm amnesty, stating that the policy is “critically important to the business community.” The Chamber this year has lobbied for a plan that would double legal immigration levels and give amnesty to most of the nation’s 11 to 22 million illegal alien population.

The lobbying for the farm amnesty comes as major lawsuits and trials are underway that reveal severe labor abuses in the nation’s legal immigration system.

Late last year, the Department of Justice released a 54-count indictment against 24 individuals, many of them illegal aliens, with operating a “modern-day slavery” scheme that utilized the H-2A visa program to traffic foreign workers into U.S. farm jobs — allegedly raping, kidnapping, and threatening them in the process.

Most recently, a Florida-based company was accused of operating a Missouri farm that imported foreign H-2A visa workers to cut labor costs, denying them pay, and housing them in an old jail. Last year, a handful of black Americans filed suit against United States farms along the Mississippi Delta for allegedly replacing them with imported H-2A visa workers from South Africa.

In 1997, slightly more than 16,000 foreign H-2A visa workers were imported to take American agriculture jobs. By 2021, that number had exploded to more than 258,000. About 93 percent of all H-2A visas are awarded to Mexican nationals.

Annually, more than 1.2 million legal immigrants are awarded green cards, and another 1.4 million foreign nationals are given visas to take U.S. jobs. In addition, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are added to the U.S. population every year.

Today, 11.7 million Americans remain jobless and nearly five million more are underemployed. All want full-time employment with high wages and competitive benefits.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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