2005 April 09 Saturday
Another Push Coming To Pass AgJobs Immigration Amnesty

Farmers want very cheap labor and Hispanics want an amnesty.

For several years now, Sen. Larry Craig has teamed up with Sen. Ted Kennedy to relentlessly push the AgJobs bill (the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act, currently S. 359), which would grant amnesty to most illegal alien farmworkers, and their families (plus admit many, many more through a harmful “temporary” worker program). Estimates are that as many as three million illegals could take advantage of this amnesty.


Sen. Craig has said he intends to offer his amnesty as an amendment when the military spending bill is considered next week on the Senate floor. His hope is that if his amnesty is added to the Senate version of the bill it will be too difficult for pro-borders Republicans in the House to kill it when the two bodies meet to reconcile the different versions of the bill.

AgJobs lets illegals who work in agriculture to get amnesty. Of course you can bet that just about every illegal in the country would come forth claiming to have worked under the table in some tomato field for a few weeks (which is all that is required to get the amnesty - at least in the 2004 version of the bill).

Lots of agricultural lobbies are pushing for this bill.

Western Growers Association President Tom Nassif spoke with Peter Jennings last week on ABC World News Tonight to voice his support for the "AgJOBS bill," which would give legal status to some U.S. farmworkers.

Congress may be becoming more sensitive to and worried about anti-immigration sentiment. I noticed in articles about the AgJobs bill that the number of co-sponsors in the Senate are a lot lower than they were last year. Frank Gaffney thinks that many previous cosponsors of AgJobs will still be willing to vote for it this year.

Interestingly, Messrs. Craig and Kennedy have significantly fewer co-sponsors (43) on their legislation this year than in the last session of Congress (62). At this writing, it is unclear if many of those senators who no longer want to be publicly associated with this amnesty bill will nonetheless vote for it.

In fact, AgJobs had 63 Senate cosponsors in 2004 and 115 House cosponsors. Note that while in the Senate almost two thirds of the 100 members were cosponsors. But with 435 members in the House of Representatives the AgJobs consponsors in the House last year were slightly more than a third of the total membership.

Republican Party activists who want more restrictive immigration laws and real enforcement of immigration laws need to start requiring Congressional candidates to pass a litmus test on immigration.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 April 09 12:03 PM  Immigration Politics

John S Bolton said at April 9, 2005 12:49 PM:

This is an attempted plundering operation against the net taxpayer. Power seekers want to force people to do what they don't want to do because it is not good for them; there is no power in getting people to do what they want to do. When opposition is neutralized by the castroite new left method of saying that anyone who doesn't want these people is racist; the limitations on such destructive power seeking are loosened. This explains the lemming stampede in such a direction. They see an opening for massive aggression and plunder and they rush towards it. Worse, there is also a motivation on the part of such power seekers, to push the country towards conflicts with a high likelihood of allowing for dictatorship to be installed.

TangoMan said at April 9, 2005 12:50 PM:


Take a look at the data in my post on the Comparative Advantage of the US. Notice the preponderance of agricultural SIC categories in which we maintain a trade surplus. Keep in mind all of the subsidies that flow into the sector and with cheap illegal labor we're looking at a whole other layer, and quite substantive at that, of subsidy which shifts the social costs of illegal labor onto other sectors of the economy. Those extra taxes are most likely making marginal industry sectors uncompetitive in the international marketplace.

Illegal farm workers are simply a tax on more productive sectors of the economy.

John S Bolton said at April 10, 2005 3:30 PM:

Low income immigrants( more than 80% of the cohorts of recent decades ) are indeed a drag on the economy, not only through their net public subsidy, but also by holding expenditures to a less productive pattern. If the less productive businesses, including agriculture in particular, were allowed to fold for lack of cheap enough labor; expenditures would be diverted into more productive lines of business, building up the overall efficiency of the economy. Delaying this replacement process is much like the effect of protectionism for some backward industries with political influence; the overall productivity of the society is held back. Irrigation agriculture is a gruesomely egregious instance of resources held by immigration to stunningly low productivity uses. Diversion of water from such uses could allow for many times the output per unit of the resource to be diverted. A tiny clique of socialistic landowners corrupts the politics with an ad hominem mockery of rational argumentation; by saying that only nazis would want to lower the number of low income immigrants going into labor intensive agriculture. They need a lot of help from a leftist professoriate and from power seeking officials, to put this over, though. officials need the largest possible population of helpless clients on public subsidy; the professoriate needs to nurse its dreams of totalitarian theory being applied.

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