2004 May 21 Friday
AgJobs Immigration Amnesty Threat Grows

Criticism of the AgJobs immigration amnesty legislation is coming from what is (at least to me) an unexpected quarter. The distinctly neoconservative Center For Security Policy whose President is Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., has a very criticial piece up on their site in strong opposition to the Agricultural Job, Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act (AgJOBS) immigration amnesty bill.

Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, one of his most loyal friends in the U.S. Senate, GOP conservative Larry Craig of Idaho, is poised to saddle the President’s reelection bid with just such a divisive initiative: S.1645, the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003 (better known as the AgJobs bill).

AgJobs is, in some ways, even worse than the President’s plan for temporary workers. While most experts disagree, at least Mr. Bush insists that his initiative will not amount to amnesty for illegal aliens.

No such demurral is possible about S.1645. By the legislation’s own terms, an illegal alien will be turned into "an alien lawfully admitted for temporary residence," provided they had managed to work unlawfully in an agricultural job in the United States for a minimum of 100 hours - in other words, for just two-and-a-half work weeks - during the 18 months prior to August 31, 2003.

Once so transformed, they can stay in the U.S. indefinitely while applying for permanent resident status. From there, it is a matter of time before they can become citizens, so long as they work in the agricultural sector for 675 hours over the next six years.

While the article above is unsigned a very similar article by Gaffney followed in the Washington Times. It is unusual to see a major neoconservative figure taking a position against immigration amnesty. When Bush announced his own immigration amnesty plan one could see the split running through the Republican Party where most neoconservatives defended it while at the same time most conventional conservatives attacked it.

While Gaffney is obviously (and rightly) concerned that support for AgJobs coming from Republican Senators could alienate the Republican voters from the whole Republican ticket (and why shouldn't the traitors to America's best interest all lose as a necessary punishment for these idiots?) he also even thinks that Bush's own proposal is a bad idea. So is Gaffney really against a loose immigration policy? Or is he just concerned tha the Republican Party is going to split on this issue? Has anyone come across any previous writings by Gaffney that suggest this is the case?

Almost half the Republicans in the US Senate are public supporters of AgJobs.

Backers of the bill believe that they may soon gain more co-sponsors to join the 35 Democratic and 25 Republican backers.

“There are a lot of people who have told us, ‘I’m not a co-sponsor, but you do have my vote,’” said Craig Regelbrugge, co-chairman of the Agriculture Coalition on Immigration Reform, a group of trade associations representing farmers and other agriculture employers. Agriculture employers are stepping up their efforts with senators from the Midwest, said a Senate aide.

Craig and Kennedy are eager to move the bill and have held discussions with Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) about how best to proceed. Hatch is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The mind boggles. The Republicans in the US Senate are obviously oblivious to the desires of the majority of the American public on immigration. Even after the hostile reception for Bush's unpopular idiotic amnesty (really, my rhetoric is not excessive when Bush' proposal is analyzed rationally) the Senators are doing what they can to defy the wishes of the public.

The AgJobs requirements for amnesty are incredibly low.

The AgJOBS bill they push would create a two-step amnesty for some 1.7 million illegal immigrants who do farm work part-year, their spouses and children. Aliens would do as little as 75 days a year of farm work, as little as one hour per day, on a temporary visa good for up to six years.

Formerly illegal aliens and family members would then receive a green card and then possibly citizenship. You can bet legalized aliens will leave farms as soon as possible. That guarantees a continuing flow of illegal aliens to depress agricultural wages.

From ProjectUSA's list of points about AgJobs:

Administrative responsibilities for "establishing" work history given to transnational racial-identity origanizations and those who profit from the system

Restrictions on economic migration waived.

Impact on American wages no ground for removing aliens

The bill would prohibit the prosecution of illegal aliens committing Social Security fraud

There is a ray of hope about AgJobs and it is coming from Utah. One of the sponsors for the House version of AgJobs is Republican Congressman Chris Cannon of Utah. ProjectUSA paid $2000 for billboard ads in Idaho stating Congressman Chris Cannon wants amnesty for illegal aliens which so helped challenger Matt Throckmorton that Cannon now has to face Throckmorton in a primary run-off.

On Saturday, May 8, at the Utah Republican Party convention, Matt Throckmorton forced a primary run-off against four-term incumbent U.S. Congressman Chris Cannon.

The June 22 showdown may mark the end for Cannon—one of the most notorious open borders advocates in post-1965 American immigration politics.

Cannon, needing 60% of the delegates for automatic re-nomination, was stopped cold by an aggressive Throckmorton, who forced immigration into the forefront. And no matter how he tried, Cannon could not dodge the issue.

Craig Nelsen of ProjectUSA says the Throckmorton primary challenge with immigration as a key issue has already been heard in Washington DC as he discovered when talking to a Hill staffer.

While discussing the obstacles on Capitol Hill facing good legislation, the staffer said that many members of Congress feel the political downside they face for supporting bad legislation isn't severe enough yet to counter the influence of the special interest lobbyists.

Then she added, to my surprise, "Except for that whole thing with Cannon out in Utah. (I should point out that this staffer was unaware of the connection between me, ProjectUSA, and our work in Utah).

At face value, her comment means that the severe setback that hopeless underdog Matt Throckmorton handed invulnerable incumbent Chris Cannon by forcing him into a primary on $11,000 has been noticed where it counts. And noticed, too, is the fact that Cannon's awful immigration voting record was the cause of his embarrassing failure.

If Throckmorton defeats Cannon in a primary challenge then Congress Critters will begin to worry more about what their own constituents think about immigration. Nothing less than a rising anger on the part of the American public will shift positions of politicians on immigration.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 May 21 05:32 PM  Immigration Policy


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