Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced a new bill this month that looks like it is designed to help undocumented farmworkers. In reality though, this bill is not about helping illegal immigrants attain citizenship, about about helping the companies that employ them continue to engage in plantation owner-like practices reminiscent of the the Southern Democrats circa 1850.
On the surface, Feinstein’s bill seeks to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented farmworkers who fear deportation under the strengthened enforcement of current immigration laws. The Salem (Oregon) Statesman Journal reported that Feinstein’s Agricultural Worker Program Act “would permit those workers to get a green card, with legal work status, after three years. After five years with a green card, it would provide a legal path to apply for citizenship.”
According to Feinstein’s website, should the bill pass, that path to citizenship would be an arduous one, filled with many hard working days for extremely low pay.
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“Farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in each of the past two years may earn lawful “blue card” status. Farmworkers who maintain blue card status for the next three or five years, depending on the total hours worked in agriculture, would be eligible to adjust to a green card or legal permanent residency.”
PJ Media reported that Feinstein lamented about the scarcity of workers in California’s farming industry.
“Wherever I go in California, they tell me they can’t find workers, that workers are scared,” Feinstein said. “That they are afraid they’re going to be picked up and deported.”
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So she introduced this bill to allow illegal immigrants to stay on the farms that they are employed at and continue working for low wages in harsh conditions. It really is a dream come true for them, huh?
This bill is reminiscent of the way the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required “Radical Republicans,” who believed in freedom and equality for all people, to send runaway slaves back to their plantations, working long hours for no pay.
Now, slavery was truly evil — the farming conditions of today do not rival what slaves were put through. But pain is pain, and it’s clear whose concerns were more important to Feinstein — the company owners who are hurting for labor.
Feinstein’s bill, like that 1850 act, only helps the companies that want to get away with using undocumented workers to avoid paying wages competitive enough to attract American workers. Even Feinstein’s website suggested that the “economy” was the reason she introduced this bill.
“Agriculture is a $54 billion industry in California, and U.C. Davis estimates that up to 70 percent of California farmworkers — approximately 560,000 people — are undocumented,” the site read, adding that “our bill achieves two goals — ensuring that hardworking immigrants don’t live in fear and California’s agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to thrive.”
She doesn’t want illegal immigrants who work in the farm industry to be sent back to their countries of origin, because that would hurt the vast majority of California’s plantations … er, farms.
Someone needs to inform the senator that there is already a path to citizenship that does not involve requiring people to spend years working in poor conditions to aid multi-billion dollar farming companies. And if additional labor really is required, the U.S. can easily create legal means to import that labor without rewarding individuals who broke the law by entering the country without authorization in the first place.
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