Freedom Folks

Saturday, May 27, 2006

End Game?

Source: washingtontimes
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he is willing to accept a temporary-worker program for future workers, but citizenship for illegal aliens -- which he said definitely constitutes "amnesty" -- is out.
"A guest-worker program I think can be on the table if it does not contain an amnesty, but only if the employer sanctions and the increased border patrols are effective," the Wisconsin Republican said.
A thought has been niggling in my brain for a bit now and it looks as if I might be right. I have been wondering if the final goal of the amnesty charade was to get big business a guest worker program.

There is absolutely no way business actually wants amnesty for illegals as that would remove entirely the utility those workers currently provide (cheap, no liability, no bennies).

No, a guest worker program would be made to order.

Did you know that we've had guest worker programs in this country before?

Mark Krikorian's excellent Center For Immigration Studies provides us with this background...(note how many of the president's current lies are decimated by a simple foundation in history, lies bolded for your readng pleasure)

The United States has had two agricultural guest worker or Bracero programs with Mexico, and one program, H-2 and H-2A, that permits U.S. farmers to recruit foreign farmworkers in any country, although most come from the Caribbean and Mexico. None of these programs fulfilled their stated purpose: to add workers temporarily to the U.S. work force without adding permanent residents to the population, and to do so in a manner that does not adversely affect U.S. workers. Instead, the Bracero programs laid the groundwork for one of the world's great mass migrations — that from Mexico to the United States — and the H-2A program has been wracked by costly disputes.

The first Bracero program was an exception to U.S. immigration law. The 1917 Immigration Act prohibited the entry of immigrants who were "induced migrate to this country by offers or promises of employment," imposed a head tax, and excluded immigrants over 16 who could not read in any language. However, with "Food to Win the War" as a motto, farmers and railroads persuaded the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to suspend until 1921 the head tax and the literacy test for Mexican workers coming to the United States with contracts for up to 12 months. Many of these first Braceros did not return as scheduled — there was no Border Patrol to regulate crossings until 1924 — and some U.S. employers did not pay Braceros the wages promised.

The second Bracero program was a series of agreements between Mexico and the United States under which some 4.6 million Mexicans were admitted to work on U.S. farms between 1942 and 1964. It is often argued that a legal guest worker program reduces illegal entries, but 4.9 million Mexicans were apprehended during the Bracero years (both Bracero entries and apprehensions double count individuals admitted or caught several times). The Bracero program was small during World War II — admissions peaked at 62,000 in 1944 — and rose to 445,000 in 1956, primarily to harvest cotton and other commodities in surplus.

The Mexican and U.S. governments recognized that the Bracero program also facilitated illegal immigration
. Mexico pressed the United States to adopt employer sanctions to discourage illegal emigration, and the 1951 Bracero program was approved for only six months in order to put pressure on Congress to approve sanctions. The "Texas Proviso" in the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act, however, specifically exempted the knowing employment of unauthorized workers.

The U.S. experience with foreign farm workers leads to three major lessons:
  • There is nothing more permanent than temporary workers. After farm employers and foreign workers become dependent on each other, the farmers do not think about alternatives to Bracero or H-2 workers, and the migrants need U.S. earnings to maintain their families.
  • The availability of foreign workers distorts the economy. Farmers take into account many factors when they decide whether to plant apples in remote areas of Washington or West Virginia, especially likely revenues and costs in four or five years when there are apples to pick. But they do not have to worry about the availability of pickers if there is a guest worker program. An auto executive might be fired for putting a plant in a remote area without workers; a farmer feels entitled to foreign workers to make the investment profitable.
  • Employers invest in lobbying to maintain the program, not in labor-saving or back-saving alternatives. Legislation authorizing farmers to hire guest workers has usually been considered a temporary bridge, a way for farmers to get crops harvested until soldiers returned from war or mechanization eliminated the need for hand workers. However, once a guest worker program is in place, farmers invest in lobbying to maintain the program, not in labor-saving and productivity-increasing alternatives.
Let's fast forward a bit...

Farm employers have been pressing for an alternative guest worker program since 1964, when the Bracero program was ended in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. In the early 1980s, as the Grand Bargain of legalization and employer sanctions was moving through Congress, farmers persuaded the House in 1984 and the Senate in 1985 to approve alternatives to the H-2 program, which required employers to prove that U.S. workers were not available and to provide both U.S. and foreign workers with free housing.

Unions, churches, and immigrant advocates joined those interested in controlling illegal immigration to block the farmers' proposal. The compromise was the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) legalization program any unauthorized worker who performed least 90 days of farm work in the preceding year could become a U.S. immigrant. Some 1.2 million foreigners became SAWs, and the estimated 558,000 SAWs doing farm work in 1989-90 comprised 31 percent of the farm work force. *snip*

Farm labor lobbyists raised the alarm that farmers were vulnerable to the loss of their work force. What if, they speculated, the INS were to develop effective border and interior enforcement strategies? (which indeed they did, and these strategies were shot down through pressure applied on weak willed politicians via big dollar donors) INS enforcement actions in Georgia onions, Midwestern meatpacking, and Washington apple picking were widely reported in the farm press. Even though there were no financial losses to employers in these cases, they highlighted the fact that a significant share of the work force was unauthorized and could be removed with effective enforcement.

Farmers who want to maintain the labor status quo face a dilemma. They do not want to apply for H- 2A guest workers because that would require them to prove that U.S. workers are not available and also to provide housing. They do not want to simply legalize currently illegal workers, because the experience with SAWs demonstrates that legalized farm workers soon leave for nonfarm jobs in a booming economy.

So what are the lessons here?

The author details three excellent points, I wish to focus on this one...(current immigration lie bolded for your reading pleasure)

Employers must have a continued incentive to seek alternatives. Under the current H-2A program, once an employer satisfies program requirements, he or she pays only administrative fees. Employers who have adapted to guest worker rules do not actively seek U.S. workers or labor-saving alternatives. For example, the Florida sugar cane industry began importing Caribbean workers to hand cut cane in 1943 and maintained that cane harvesting could not be mechanized because unique muck soils would bog down machines. But after a lawsuit was filed in the early 1990s alleging that workers guaranteed $5.30 an hour and required to cut one ton of cane per hour should be paid $5.30 a ton, rather than the $3.70 a ton they were paid, cane companies mechanized the harvest within three years.

Do I detect the faint tang of bullshit here? The company asserted through highly paid mouthpieces that it couldn't possibly mechanize, and yet, within three years of growing tired of their uppity slaves, what do you know, machines were bringing in the harvest.

I'll be damned. They lied. I'm shocked, really.

I think I put this rather well in an earlier piece so I will cut and paste and bid you think about it...

This brings me back to the businesses and owners that utilize illegals. They are addicts who will do or say anything for a fix, anything. No matter what bill comes down the pike it must contain workplace enforcement, and that enforcement must actually occur.

A guest worker program is methadone for illegal addicted employers and it will work precisely as well as methadone programs usually don't. There's only one way to kick an addiction...

Cold turkey.

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