Monday, April 21, 2014

Congress needs migrant worker bill

From page A4 | February 13, 2012 | Leave Comment


Congress, in its effort to root out illegal immigrants working in America, is considering tightening employment verification regulations.

But the unintended consequence of that is to damage farmers in California and a lot of other states who rely on immigrant farm laborers who travel with the seasons and the crops. Some are permanent laborers for dairies and crops such as vineyards and raisin grapes that need year-round tending.

“E-Verify without a workable, economical way to ensure a legal agricultural work force will be a disaster for American agriculture,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger told the committee, adding that experience has shown that “there is no realistic prospect of a domestic work force for agriculture, even with current high unemployment rates.”

Alabama is an example of what havoc can be wreaked with overkill on undocumented immigrants. Farmers there lost their best farm workers. When unemployed Alabamans tried farm work they didn’t even last a day. This isn’t a country of farm boys anymore.

As the U.S. labor force has grown older, more urban and focused on year-round jobs with predictable work hours, Wenger said, “our native-born seek other jobs outside the agriculture sector.” That means that farms and ranches rely on hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers — and experts estimate many do not have legal authorization to work in the U.S.

“The daunting reality is that a true solution must be capable of converting or replacing these workers with legally authorized workers,” Wenger said, noting that the existing immigration program for agriculture, known as H-2A, has proven inadequate. Less than 5 percent of the current agricultural work force is employed through H-2A.

Congress needs to tailor a program specifically for farm labor. It needs to be a program that would allow the farm laborers to return to their homes in Mexico in the winter and then come back across the border in the spring to work on American farms.

This is an immediate need as important as securing the border against infiltration by drugs gangs and illegal border crossers.

“We support improving the H-2A program, but that cannot be the only solution,” Wenger said. “The closer a new program comes to replicating the way the farm labor force needs to move among employers and crops based on seasons and the weather, the more likely it will be able to meet the needs of farmers and farm employees.”

While a workable agricultural immigration program must succeed for farmers who grow perishable crops, he said, it must also benefit dairy farms, livestock ranches, nurseries and other employers with year-round needs, and must accommodate the large, experienced work force already employed on farms and ranches.

Our country’s food supply depends on these workers from Mexico. This has to be recognized and a realistic program created to allow these immigrants to continue working for American farmers.

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | No comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .


    Air quality rating up in the air

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    GDPUD: Budget and GM are top topics

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

    Mountain lion seen in Placerville

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

    CTE a pathway to higher wages, higher-demand jobs

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

    Heard over the back fence: Earth Day at the library

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

    New top 10 fugitive could be in area

    By News Release | From Page: A3

    Community Action Council seeks new member

    By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

    Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinics May 3-4

    By Hangtown Kennel | From Page: A9



    Retain Joe Harn as auditor

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 10 Comments

    Belltower: El Niño or el nada?

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    The balancing act: Save the whales

    By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4



    Tell the truth, don’t confuse voters

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Local petitions circulating

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

    Chess club

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    True Christian

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



    Sports Scene: April 20, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    All Star team shows competive balance

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A6

    Australian rugby team visits Cameron park

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Roundup: Cougars drop finale

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    Red hot Rico Abreu blazes to victory

    By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

    Schedule: April 21-26, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

    Rains to present at AMA conference

    By David Albee | From Page: A7



    As we were: Supervisors can’t decide

    By Ken Deibert | From Page: B2

    Spend time in River City

    By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Help with healthcare decisions

    By Snowline Hospice Thrift Stores | From Page: B3

    Time to enter El Dorado County Fair

    By El Dorado County Fair | From Page: B3

    Cantare Chorale seeks new director

    By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B3

    Volunteers needed for day of service

    By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B10



    Lake levels 4-17-14

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

    DUI Log: Feb. 28-April 3

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



    Dianne Johnson

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Michael R. Sponsler

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Daniel Bish Sr. funeral notice

    By Contributor | From Page: A2


    Real Estate



    Horoscope, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Horoscope, Monday, April 21, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    American Profile Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8


    By Contributor | From Page: A8

    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A8