Report: Bipartisan Effort to Undercut American Workers Underway

Last week, we lost the brilliant conservative satirist P.J. O’Rourke. It would impossible to catalogue all of the political truths the “Parliament of Whores” author was able to turn into epigrams, but I was reminded of one particular quote where he drove home the fact that comity among our two major parties isn’t a good thing in and of itself:
“The two most frightening words in Washington are ‘bipartisan consensus,'” O’Rourke wrote in a 2008 edition of Cato’s Letter, a newsletter from the conservative Cato Institute. “Bipartisan consensus is when my doctor and my lawyer agree with my wife that I need help.”
You don’t even need a consensus for this to be problematic. All you need is, say, two congressmen with a dopey grasp on the negatives of incentivizing foreign labor over American workers.
According to Breitbart, Reps. Scott Franklin and Salud Carbajal — a Florida Republican and California Democrat, respectively — drafted a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh that asks them to kill a plan to increase fees American farms need to pay to import workers from abroad.
It’s unclear whether President Joe Biden’s administration will sign off on the change, although it wouldn’t be the first time Biden’s people had thrown American workers under the bus. (Here at The Western Journal, we’ve been chronicling how the Biden administration has been robbing American workers and employers alike — and we’ll continue to do so. You can help us bring readers the truth by subscribing.)
As Breitbart noted in the Friday report, farms must currently pay $190 per worker they import on an H-2A visa, which covers temporary agricultural workers.
That could increase to $310 per worker, however, thanks to a regulatory rule change proposed in December.
Franklin and Carbajal, however, don’t want that to happen. Not only are they set to lobby the Biden administration to ditch the increase, they’re also talking to other House Democrats and Republicans to sign on to the letter, Breitbart reported.
As for the contents of the letter, it calls the H-2A visa program “a crucial tool for U.S. employers to sponsor foreign laborers to work in the U.S. agricultural industry if employers verify there were no U.S. workers ‘who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.’”
The H-2A visa enables farms to import workers for up to three years — including the workers’ families, who can come on H-4 visas. The number of workers who can be imported annually is unlimited — and it’s grown exponentially over the past quarter-century.
In 1997, just over 16,000 workers were in the United States on an H-2A visa, according to Breitbart; by 2021, that had grown to more than 258,000.
About 93 percent of the visas go to Mexican nationals, according to Breitbart.
A 2018 report from the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative group that favors tighter controls on both legal and illegal immigration, found that H-2A workers were cheaper than U.S. labor across the board.
And, as the Center for Immigration Studies noted, noted, these aren’t just “jobs Americans won’t do.”
“The average hourly wage for all H-2A certified workers was $12.01 per hour, well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. At first glance, it is easy to see why many scoff at the notion that guestworkers are paid low wages,” the CIS report stated.
“But equating these jobs to those paying the minimum wage is comparing apples to oranges. As [a] Successful Farming article clarified, ‘farms of all types and sizes are moving to replace labor with new technology. Over time, the result has meant fewer laborers — and higher wages.'”
Importing farm labor also hurts a favorite demographic for the Democratic Party, it’s worth noting: Black workers. As The New York Times reported in November, black farmworkers in the Mississippi Delta filed a federal lawsuit in September alleging they were displaced by white seasonal workers imported from South Africa.
However, there are incentives for bipartisanship on waiving the H-2A fees if you know where to look.
“The congressmen’s letter is being backed by the Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM), the California Citrus Mutual (CCM), and the Florida Fruits and Vegetables Association (FFVA), among others,” Breitbart’s report noted.
Those organizations (or organizations linked to them) have given money to both the congressmen behind the letter, because of course they have.
In 2020, the FCM’s political action committee gave Franklin $2,500; this cycle, they’ve given him $1,000 already, according to Breitbart;  FFVA gave him $1,000 in both 2020 and 2022.
Carbajal, meanwhile, received $5,000 in 2020 donations from the California Farm Bureau, an organization described as being “closely linked to CCM,” Breitbart reported.
And rest assured, there will be more Republicans and Democrats signing on to this letter, if just because their donors and well-heeled supporters prefer foreign labor.
I’m well aware that O’Rourke would have scoffed at opposition to the H-2A visas, being a libertarian through-and-through. (“Globalization is simply opening the free marketplace to encompass the entire world,” he told PBS in 2007.)
But O’Rourke wasn’t an elected official, entrusted with protecting actual working men and women in the United States.
Remember that when Republicans and Democrats speak in unison, that should act as a warning, not an endorsement.
via westernjournal

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