Will wonders never cease: Congress mulls immigration fixes

Those of us who have said all along that Congress ultimately has to deal with the issue of illegal immigration should be heartened by this news. From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), an immigration hardliner who now heads the House Judiciary Committee, plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would revise an existing guest-worker program and allow up to half a million foreign farm workers a year to work in the U.S.

Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.), whose district includes almond, rice and grape growers, also is seeking the creation of a new visa category for agricultural workers. He said it would allow “hundreds of thousands” of foreign farm laborers to work in the U.S. for 10 months at a time, the same time frame allotted by Mr. Smith’s proposal.

Stepped-up lobbying by farm groups on the issue amounts to a frank admission about their dependence on a foreign-born work force—whether legal or not. Their argument is that most American workers have shunned farm jobs because many are of a seasonal, migratory nature as well as being physically arduous. …

The two agriculture-related proposals in Congress are an attempt to placate farmers who have been descending on Washington since June to fight a separate bill being pushed by Mr. Smith.

Farm groups claim that bill, known as the E-Verify bill, would lead to a severe labor shortage for a sector that relies on undocumented farm hands.

Smith’s two bills would seem to alleviate some of the chief economic concerns stemming from HB 87, the new Georgia law aimed at curbing illegal immigration: One would require businesses outside Georgia to use the federal E-Verify system to check workers’ immigration status, potentially putting them on the same footing as Georgia businesses are under HB 87 (depending on the final details). The other would help prevent a farm labor shortage like the one seen in some parts of Georgia this summer.

Immigration also appears to be an issue with which Mitt Romney will try to create some distance between himself and Rick Perry.

If Washington would like to take the lead on this issue after letting it languish so long that Arizona, Georgia, Alabama and other states decided to take matters into their own hands, well, it’s about time.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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148 comments Add your comment

Rick in Grayson

September 7th, 2011
5:26 am

Passing the E-Verify bill will be a step in the right direction! This bill will call for the vetting of all existing as well as new workers. Illegal aliens will finally be put out of their jobs so that US citizens can get off of the unemployment rolls and have jobs to support their families.

Allowing agricultural workers into the US will work as long as E-Verify is passed to deny them jobs in any other industry. Make sure that they foreign workers must leave the US if they are pregnant.

Lil' Barry Bailout

September 7th, 2011
5:41 am

Libtards will obstruct both measures. The bills don’t create any new Democrat voters.

ByteMe

September 7th, 2011
5:53 am

9.1% unemployment and they’re once again focused like a laser on the wrong problem.

Tom E. Gunn

September 7th, 2011
6:41 am

Once again, to the REAL problem. WHAT about the occupying force ALREADY here? How about a bill to SEND THEM HOME!!!

GT

September 7th, 2011
6:50 am

9.1% unemployment and a gray unemployment of the farmer whose crop sits in the field without being harvested. Not only does the farmer go without but food is higher priced and all along the food chain there is unemployment. Taxes go uncollected as the food rots in a field, the school systems have to pay more for a large part of their budget.

For 100 years we have held court with illegal immigrants. We in any other area of law would say we have set a precedent, “squatter’s rights”. Here on the brink of depression the Republicans see this as a rallying cause for the side. A Republican Party that was in charge for a long long time now wants action. When the man from the tea party wanted to know why the president called him a domestic terrorist I think of things like this. This is an ill timed death wish by the opposition on the American economy so they can drive the car in the ditch one more time.

DeborahinAthens

September 7th, 2011
7:00 am

The immigrants are nowhere to be found in Georgia, and yet the farmers cannot find enough workers to pick the crops. Unemployment in Georgia is over ten percent. So how is this anti-illegal immigration thingey working for ya as a way to get people working?

Karl Marx

September 7th, 2011
7:03 am

This is just more political double speak. First control the borders then tackle the illegals that are still here. Next eliminate the corporate welfare under the H2-A and J1 guest worker programs by eliminating the 10% tax break companies receive for hiring foreign workers over US citizens.

Really?

September 7th, 2011
7:23 am

Nice hard work again Kyle. They really pay you for this? Really? You write a sentence, paste from the NY Times the vast majority of the blog, add a few more sentences at the end and that’s it. Really? Tough job. What a journalist. Must be time for another vacation. Don’t burn yourself out. Really!

jconservative

September 7th, 2011
7:23 am

So Perry, “former” Democrat, is a supporter of “no fence along the border”, is a supporter of in-state tuition for illegals and thinks 10 million illegals in Texas is no big deal.

This is the exact opposite of what Georgia Republicans believe.

DREAM Act thy best friend is Governor Perry.

Obozononics

September 7th, 2011
7:52 am

DeborahinAthens;
What planet do you live on, just drive up Roswell road in North Fulton there are plenty of illegals. Only a blind person would not see all of them…

SingleMindedMan

September 7th, 2011
8:08 am

Immigrants don’t have a right to live here. I put in a lot of effert to make sure that I was born in this country, so that I would be American by birth. Anyone who wasn’t born here hasn’t worked hard enough and therefore doesn’t deserve to be here.

carlosgvv

September 7th, 2011
8:12 am

Politicians have “let it languish” so long for a reason. They know that there is no way we can deport over 12 million illegals. So now, they can safely bluster and act as though they care and try to fool us into voting for them. The truth is they want them badly for votes and need them to keep their corporate sponsors happy for the cheap labor.

45 and some change

September 7th, 2011
8:15 am

@DeborahinAthens

Illegals have not left GA! Besides, if you haven’t heard we have this this called a DROUGHT and there isn’t that much to pick.

As a teacher, illegals were always some of my better students and parents. Thie past couple of years I have noticed a chage in their attitudes. This year, they are absolutely the worst. Seems they have gotten very defiant about obeying our laws and are just waiting on some Democrat to give them amnesty. They are takers, they will never give back to the community. The only thing they have brought us is DRUGS. They have wreaked havoc on our entitlement systems and are pretty much one of the problem that plagues our public schools.

The US will never be able to compete when we are forced to educate the World. We cannot compete with Asia when we don’t look like Asia. The entire immigration controls need to be overhauled and we need to go make to the days of Ellis Island. There is no reason to assimilate if they can lie, cheat and steal with little effort and stay in the US for decades.

Why do largely Democrats insist on destroying our country? Can they not see what the future looks like with the way our immigration policies stand? Guess they want to give amnesty to a bunch of socialist voters.

Creating a larger lower class will not shift the wealth out of the hands that they are currently in. The American dream is not obtainable to many immigrants, and it never will be. I plan to hold onto my wealth and fight at every turn. The federal governement WILL NOT win this one!

Immigrants today should be mad and the hypocrits that are helping them and supporting them. They are being used for votes and entitlements. They will never achieve what the early century immigrants did. The governement cannot give you wealth, you have to become a citizen and earn it.

carlosgvv

September 7th, 2011
8:16 am

DeborahinAthens

If farmers were willing to pay decent wages and offer good working conditions, they would have plenty of workers. Unfortunately, they still cling to the hope that the illegals will come back and work for poor wages and tolerate the bad working conditions. I hope you are not a college student as the above would be evident to a 10 year old.

Ad Naseum

September 7th, 2011
8:23 am

“I put in a lot of effert to make sure that I was born in this country, so that I would be American by birth.”

Very cute, SingleMinded. This will not help your cause, the “I can’t help where I was born” excuse!

This line is ranking up there with Blame Bush / I inherited this economy, blaming Evangelical Christians, the fringe Tea party with all the power, and calls of racism because we don’t agree with Obama.

You would thing the party of jackasses woulth realize these excuses are borderline hysterical and getting nowhere. They actually degrade the plight. But then again, they are jackasses just looking for a vote and to gain socialist status as a country.

Keep up the fight, good luck with that!

JKL2

September 7th, 2011
8:24 am

–Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), an immigration hardliner

Is he a bigoted anti-immigrant extremist too?

November 6, 2012

September 7th, 2011
8:32 am

New Federal Law That Should Be Enacted – A nationwide notice should go out on Television, Radio and all newspapers that (Effective January 1, 2012) says……”If you are in the United States illegally, you have until July 1, 2012 to remove yourself. You may take all your possessions, all of your money that may be in a bank account, cash, etc. and your family. If you are in the United States illegally after July 1, 2012 and are apprehended and cannot prove you are a citizen, you will be taken immediately to an area closest to where you were apprehended and held until there are enough to fill a bus, plane or whatever conveyance is necessary and then all will be taken to their country of origin and told not to return. You will not be able to make a phone call and all of your possessions, including any vehicle, money, personal possessions will be taken. All you will be left with are the clothes on your back. Be forewarned, we are serious”

The above should alleviate the problems we have with our medicaid expenditures, the overcrowding of our public schools and reduce crime which will relieve the overcrowding of our jails/prisons. It may cause some problems at our airports because of illegals trying to get out and may also contribute to overcrowding on most roads leading to the exit points along our southern border. The lines at the border crossing points may be backed up for weeks/months, but this is a small price to pay. There may be an opportunity at these points for some smart entrepeuner to rent porta johns and to set up food concessions which will contribute to higher tax collections for our country.

This does not apply to those who are not citizens but are here temporarily going to school, picking fruit, etc. Nor does it apply to tourists with visas, passports, etc.

Road Scholar

September 7th, 2011
8:35 am

SMM: ” I put in a lot of effert to make sure that I was born in this country, so that I would be American by birth.”
What? You “put in a lot of effort..”? You weren’t born yet!

LBB: Why don’t you discuss your opinion and let others comment on what THEY think!

Carlosgvv: Tests were given to migrant workers and “Americans” and the migrant workers picked at a rate 4 times that of the “Americans”. Even if they raised the hourly rate, US workers would /should only make 1/4 of the amount migrants make! Better working conditions? How? It’s 100 degrees and humid in those fields!

Georgia passed their law w/o the ability to get a work visa. Dumbasses! I support weeding out the unlawful illegals and returning them to where they came from, providing those here now (no new unless they have a particular needed work skill that the others don’t have) with a two year visa. If in two years they don’t take the step to become a citizen, then they are out of here. We also need a way to track persons with a visa; that is one problem now that is not discussed. Can you say 9/11? We can not afford to move all 12 million out of the US. Oh and all illegals are not from Mexico or hispanic!

Voice of Reason

September 7th, 2011
8:39 am

This issue is not as complex as everyone makes it out to be, but it is not necessarily easy to stomach:

we should disallow illegals to have a bank account, a job, WIC, or free medical assistance…no physical wall on the border is required…no free stuff, no illegals…period.(BTW…I totally support LEGAL immigration…this nations greatness was built in large part due to the melting pot theory…)

Then, conduct means testing for the millions of people collecting disability, WIC, etc. and make those who can but do not due to laziness or a sense of entitlement go to work…

Why do I have to struggle to provide for myself and my family while funding illegals and those who can but do not work?

Voice of Reason

September 7th, 2011
8:42 am

November 6, 2012 – AMEN!!!!!

carlosgvv

September 7th, 2011
8:49 am

Road Scholar

Farming is not something new in America. There have been farmers here since the late 1600’s. For the vast majority of that time, illegals were not the primary field workers. Farmers could and should provide a decent wage to their workers. As for improving working conditions, giving hourly water breaks in a shaded area could be easily done. Financial incentives could also be offered to those workers who exceed their quotas. It’s clear you think migrant workers are so superior to Americans that they can’t be matched. I believe they can.

Road Scholar

September 7th, 2011
9:15 am

Understood Carlos, but Americans have grown soft, esp in the past 20-30 years. Of course the exception are those who serve in our armed forces.Their bravado has been replaced with whining!

carlosgvv

September 7th, 2011
9:18 am

Road Scholar

Yes, Americans have grown soft, no argument there. But, are you saying our soldiers are whining?

Southern Comfort

September 7th, 2011
9:49 am

Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.), whose district includes almond, rice and grape growers, also is seeking the creation of a new visa category for agricultural workers.

We already have the H2A and H2R classifications. Do we really need another one?

Road Scholar

September 7th, 2011
10:00 am

carlosgvv: No! My bad in sentence/paragraph structure.

md

September 7th, 2011
10:24 am

Let those on assistance understand that when jobs are available, there will be no assistance. Get out in the field and understand the desire to better oneself to get the hell out of the field………manual labor sure cured me of my youthful laziness. opened my eyes to how I did not want to live………………

If folks don’t want to better themselves in order to move up the ladder, so be it……it is a choice.

John

September 7th, 2011
10:45 am

Obozononics

“What planet do you live on, just drive up Roswell road in North Fulton there are plenty of illegals. Only a blind person would not see all of them…”

And just how do you know they are illegals? Is is because they look Mexican? Or speak Spanish?

thewindwhistler

September 7th, 2011
10:47 am

Immigration, should congress be the place for immigration reform. Let me say when a fisherman tells how to catch a fish, you may or may not listen, but if a fish tells you how to catch one then we should listen.
The same philosophy applies to the immigant. Ask an immigration officer how to catch AN illegal immigrant you may or may not listen, but ask the immigrant himself and then he has our attention.

Rather than to try out fox te illegal immigrant listen to his story.

Who should present the argument before congress, an illegal immigrant himself.

There can be no doubt, the illegal immigrant is an enormous burden for this country to bare. They help the farmer with harvesting his crops at whaT PRICE? They send our welfare system into huge deficits, our criminal justice system, like wise and the health care system into huge deficits, and all so a few grapes, apples and peaches get picked. The plantATION OWNER simply has to find citizen pickers or go into another business.

UGA 1999

September 7th, 2011
10:48 am

The only fix to ILLEGAL immigration is to seal and secure the border. All illegals that are here in prison or have been arrested since being in America MUST go back!

DawgDad

September 7th, 2011
10:49 am

ditto md’s comment. Our kids have a dickens of a time finding work; they need to be in the fields until something turns up and during the summer, earning money to go back to school in the fall. And if the farmers can’t find workers then they may have to recruit the campuses and unemployment offices and they may have to pay a bit more than they would under the table to an illegal worker.

I worked some really tough physical outdoor jobs during the summers while in school, the types of jobs today performed by “immigrants”. I made enough money to pay for my school and learned some valuable life lessons. The problem today is largely with our culture. It starts with parents coddling and over-protecting their kids and employers breaking laws to obtain the lowest cost labor. Cultural realignment is needed on both fronts.

John

September 7th, 2011
10:50 am

carlosgvv,

“If farmers were willing to pay decent wages and offer good working conditions, they would have plenty of workers. ”

Are you willing to pay more for produce so that farmers could pay better wages and offer better working conditions? How much, for instance, are you willing to pay for tomatoes? $5, $10 per tomato?

Rafe Hollister

September 7th, 2011
10:51 am

Until the employment of illegals is made illegal and severely enforced all the other guest worker programs will not work. What illegal wants to fill out paper work, be monitored, and told when to go home, when they can just walk across the border and work where and when they want. They can also stay as long as they desire, if they skip the gw program.

Immigration reform is simple, only politicians who do not want the problem corrected, make it difficult. Enforce the border with the military if needed, routine random checks at employers for illegals employed, sanctions against employers who violate the law, citizenship verification at schools, hospitals, and governement offices, and well thought out guest worker programs.

12 Million illegals will then be forced to deport themselves.

Martin

September 7th, 2011
10:54 am

@ carlos & Road

I think part of the reason why many Americans have become “soft” is part of the entitlement mentality. It is a disease that really we can blame on seeing folks continue to take. At some point, when you come upon hard times, it is easy for us to become entitled. I know several people that were once hard workers pretty much say, “if an illegal or welfare person can get away with it, then why can’t I?”. “Where is my payback for years of hard work and nothing to show for it?”.

I think we have to really look at the larger picture to see just what a large negative impact illegal immigration has had on our society financially and even psychologically.

I have become enraged to know that illegals were allowed to purchase homes. My very neighborhood just this summer saw an illegla family foreclosed on! What’s to say out of work illeglas are not getting unemployment? I government has alot of enticements to keep these people here. The fake documents and sticking their head in the sand.

I am glad we are seeing the massive abuses that are taking place. Nothing suprises me anymore. If an illegal can buy a home in the US and be foreclosed on, then they have been getting away with so much more. This is where Americans are getting their “soft”. Break your back for years and an illegal is treated better than you because they know how to “beat” the system and don’t think twice about it.

I am not saying it is even a good excuse, but it makes alot of sense.

We are not a melting pot! Our country is so segregated, and alot of it is due to the fact many don’t want us to know what they are getting away with. The illegal community is infamous for this practice. Their problem know is that we are figuring out all their tricks. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. Taxpayers are waking up!

DawgDad

September 7th, 2011
11:01 am

“Politicians have “let it languish” so long for a reason. They know that there is no way we can deport over 12 million illegals. ”

Don’t have to. They were incentivized to come here, incentivize them to leave.

I work for a Fortune 500 company. We employee illegal workers, unwittingly. The cancer of stolen identities is permeating our society, and it gets ugly when someone discovers someone else is using their SSN (within the same enterprise even!). E-Verify is a very good tool to get started down the road to a cure.

@ November 6, 2012 – YES!

September 7th, 2011
11:01 am

Agree – give them a deadline to take their belongings and their families back to their homeland, wherever that may be! Make being illegal in this country past this deadline a felony offense just like it is in many countries around the World.

Our country is compassionate enough to let them all leave together as a family. Return home and fight for your country!

JJones

September 7th, 2011
11:08 am

“Enforce the border with the military if needed”

Our military needs something to do since we are withdrawing. We can put them to work defending Us on our own soil. Homeland security at its best!

Like the idea of a deadline to get out as well. DeborahinAthens is wrong, there are illegal still livng throughout GA. And their attitudes have gotten worse!

UGA 1999

September 7th, 2011
11:10 am

JJones……arm yourselfs now!

carlosgvv

September 7th, 2011
11:25 am

John

I would be willing to pay more for produce if it meant sending ALL illegals back where they came from. As for price, if farmers were to start paying decent wages and institute decent working conditions, that would not mean a huge increase in prices. If farmers started charging $5.00 to $10.00 per tomato, that would be gouging and would be a different kind of problem. Of course you know that for most of the farming history of America, crops were NOT picked by illegals.

45 and some change

September 7th, 2011
11:40 am

…. We are not a melting pot! Our country is so segregated

Very true statement. There is no incentive for an immigrant to assimilate and become part of the American culture anymore. Services like ESOL in our public schools say it all. We are no longer taking the best and the brightest from other countries, we are taking those that want a better life compliments of the US taxpayer.

Grady had to shut it’s dialysis center because it was servicing pretty much all immigrants with no insurance. Are we getting people here knowing they have a sick relative and knowing the US will give them the service for free. Some of these same patients are now using Grady’s ER, even more strain. The hosptal even offered to make arrangements at the hospitals expense to send these patients back to their own country and find them the proper care.

I think our compassion as whole is lost because it is now evident that they had nop plans to become a hard working, contrinuting US citizen. It is far easier to take and take and let the taxpayer. The feds don’t seem to mind.

Hillbilly D

September 7th, 2011
11:43 am

The solution to this is simple and will never be done. Fine the employer $50,000 for each illegal that he knowingly hires. People who had no job would leave of their own accord.

That will never be done because Democrats see them as future votes and Republicans see them as cheap labor. Like most things, it’s all about money.

I live in rural Georgia and I haven’t seen any crops rotting in the fields. I think if people who check further, they’d find most of the complaining is coming from large farmers, not small ones.

UGA 1999

September 7th, 2011
11:48 am

45 and some change…..your point?

John

September 7th, 2011
11:51 am

Kyle,

Instead of all this hipe about illegal immigrants doing hard manual labor for low pay, when are Republicans going to address the abuse by corporations using the H1B Visa program. That program was designed to bring in immigrants when companies could not find US citizens to fill positions. How many US citizens have lost their jobs in IT to Indians and other foreign citizens brought to the US through the H1B Visa program?

UGA 1999

September 7th, 2011
11:52 am

John…..it is always the BIG EVIL CORPORATIONS fault isn’t it?

Tilionna

September 7th, 2011
11:56 am

“…that would revise an existing guest-worker program and allow up to half a million foreign farm workers a year to work in the U.S.”

That should not be much of a challenge since 11-12 million illegals reportedly are already here. In light of the administration’s announcement that they’re halting deportations, this proposal seems irrelevant.

reusha2000

September 7th, 2011
11:59 am

WHO ENSURES THESE PEOPLE LEAVE WHEN THEIR TIME EXPIRE!??
THAT IS THE PROBLEM THEY STAY AND STAY!!
ALSO INSTEAD OF THE FARM WORKERS, RECEIVING GOVERNMENT SERVICES AND HEALTHCARE, THE FARMERS NEED TO PAY FOR THOSE COST, NOT TAXPAYERS !!

UGA 1999

September 7th, 2011
11:59 am

Tilionna…..yep, and to think the government (Obama) once again has chosen to take a stand AGAINST the constitution. Stop deportations??? Nice.

reusha2000

September 7th, 2011
12:02 pm

DEPORT ALL ILLEGALS IN THIS COUNTRY FIRST, THEN KEEP TABS AND DOCUMENT, WHO COME THROUGH THE BORDER LEGALLY AND LEAVE WHEN TIME IS UP !!

John

September 7th, 2011
12:03 pm

UGA 1999

When BIG EVIL CORPORATIONS lay off US employees and fill those positions with foreign workers under the H1B Visa programs, whose fault is it? It’s abuse of the H1B Visa program.

UGA 1999

September 7th, 2011
12:06 pm

John….well lets think about the answer before you point the finger at corporations. Lets take a look at why they would hire someone under the VISA program versus a natural born citizen. Could it be….

* They accept less pay.
* Benefits and subsidies offered by the government
* Better trained
* More educated
* Affirmative Action

Just some ideas….

Streetracer

September 7th, 2011
12:13 pm

John @ 12:03

I don’t know a whole lot about IT (not the kind of technology I’m interested in), but I do know that our internal IT group employees no Indians. One is of Carrabian decent, one is Oriental, rest have names like Smith and Jones. Like I said, don’t know a lot about the industry, but my experience indicates that it’s not a big problem.