Bait and Switch on Immigration Policy

The New American, March 6, 2006 | Go to article overview

Bait and Switch on Immigration Policy


According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there are now 11 million illegal immigrants in our country, an estimate many consider to be extremely low. That being the case, it is somewhat ironic (though not funny) that corporate farmers in Southern California and Arizona are feeling the squeeze of a labor shortage in picking such crops as lettuce, strawberries, chiles, and apples.

The huge numbers of illegal immigrants residing in those two states--estimated at two and a half million in California and a half million in Arizona I brings light to the falsehood that America needs more Hispanic immigrants to help pick the crops. After all, according to government estimates, the total U.S. agricultural workforce is only 1.6 million.

Larry Nelson, the mayor of Yuma, Arizona, an area especially hard hit by the shortage of field hands, says that field work is hard and doesn't pay well, and so illegal aliens are inclined to work in industry and construction I where they displace American workers and cause wage stagnation or wage reduction. Because corporate farmers and businessmen want labor that is inexpensive for them (expensive for taxpayers), they put on a sustained push to pass the AgJOBS Act of 2005, which would have, in short, given temporary citizenship to illegal immigrants who agree to work at least 360 days in agriculture over a span of six years. …

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