Mere Threats of Enforcement Elicit Shrieks of Doom
August 12, 2007, 08:19 AM
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Bush's alleged "crackdown" has barely been announced and the wailing from business, particularly ag biz, has clicked up a substantial notch.

"It's going to be awful; the harvest is going to be awful," said Laura Foote Reiff, co-chairwoman of the Business Immigration Group, predicting the effect on agriculture, where more than half of the 2.5 million workers are believed to be illegal. "People will feel it when they go grocery shopping, when they read in the newspaper that we're importing our meat from China." [Immigration rules may hurt economy LA Times 8/11/07]

Phew, where to begin? Just what is the connection between the labor supply for the seasonal harvest and unsafe meat imports from China? There isn't any.

And if there is a genuine shortage of agricultural pickers, then send a few dozen ICE agents to bust some construction sites and scare those illegal workers back to the fields. Many illegal aliens use farm jobs as their employment gateway to the USA, and move on in a few years to more lucrative jobs. That's why agriculture is always squawking that they need more workers.

Furthermore, Washington already provides an unlimited supply of agricultural visas, the H-2A, but growers prefer illegal alien workers which are regarded as more convenient. Rep Tom Tancredo made that point during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the March 4 Late Edition.

TANCREDO: In terms of visas, Wolf, do you realize — and I don't know whether the President realizes this, but let's talk about H-2A visas which are the kind that allowed for people to come in and do agricultural work. There are no limits on those visas. You can have as many as you want.

People don't use them because, of course, there are restrictions in terms of pay, in terms of providing some sort of housing, in terms of providing some sort of health care. So they would rather use illegal immigrants.

In the 1850s, slave-owners in the South complained that they couldn't possibly give up their free labor, asking "Who will pick the cotton?" Today's agricultural interests make the same flawed argument.