Analysis by Kyle A. Lohmeier
Donald Trump’s tough talk on the campaign trail ran into political and economic reality late last month, according to Reuters, when the president sat down at a roundtable with representatives from 14 companies and organizations related to agriculture – an industry that could be hit hard by Trump’s proposed focus on immigration enforcement.
“…Trump said he did not want to create labor problems for farmers and would look into improving a program that brings in temporary agricultural workers on legal visas.
‘He assured us we would have plenty of access to workers,’ said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, one of 14 participants at the April 25 meeting with Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue,” Reuters reported.
Exactly how Trump will meet that assurance remains to be seen, however. Half of all U.S. crop workers are here illegally, according to the article which cited the U.S. Labor Department’s numbers. And, they’re doing necessary jobs that nobody else seems willing to do.
“During the roundtable, Luke Brubaker, a dairy farmer from Pennsylvania, described how immigration agents had recently picked up half a dozen chicken catchers working for a poultry transportation company in his county.
The employer tried to replace them with local hires, but within three hours all but one had quit, Brubaker told the gathering at the White House,” Reuters reported.
Odd, that in a nation where entitled children demand an EMT’s wages to run a deep-fryer, nobody wants to chase chickens for, presumably, minimum wage.
Of course, there is a way to bring seasonal immigrant workers into the nation legally – the H-2A visa program – but it turns out that being a government program, it’s a massive, inefficient hassle.
“Tom Demaline, president of Willoway Nurseries in Ohio, said he told the president about his struggles with the H-2A guestworker program, which he has used for 18 years.
“He told Trump the program works in concept, but not in practice. ‘I brought up the bureaucracy and red tape,’ he said. ‘If the guys show up a week or two late, it puts crops in jeopardy. You are on pins and needles all year to make sure you get the workers and do everything right.’
While use of the program has steadily increased over the past decade, it still accounts for only about 10 percent of the estimated 1.3 million farmworkers in the country, according to government data. In 2016, the government granted 134,000 H-2A visas,” Reuters reported.
And, participating in the program at all requires farmers to provide free transportation to and from the USA as well as sets food, shelter and wage standards that are out of all proportion to the market.
The ag-industry representatives all asked Trump to come up with a way of streamlining the guest worker process and in the meantime hold off on arresting and deporting the people who pick most of our produce. Somehow, according to Reuters, some of those representatives left the meeting optimistic.
Last week, congressional democrats said they would introduce a bill to reward farmers who’ve worked two consecutive years in the USA with a “blue card” that protects them from deportation. This in and of itself isn’t a horrible idea in theory, it’s just that it’s the sort of idea that arises from an already stupid situation, i.e. America’s immigration policies and other laws.
What’s the problem, really, with “illegal immigration?” There isn’t, until said illegal immigrant starts receiving medical care and other taxpayer-funded assistance, since, being illegal, the immigrant doesn’t pay taxes into the system from which he or she is feeding from. And, occasionally, illegal immigrants commit crimes and sell drugs, so, this fact is useful when politicians like Trump want to gin up some enthusiasm for a dumb border wall or some other form of immigration control.
The smart answer to this perceived problem isn’t of course, to spend billions of dollars to install a massive hunk of dark-ages technology along the entire southern border of the United States – that’s, in fact the dumbshit solution. The smart answer is to simply end all welfare and other such assistance to everyone, including medical care. Also, end the war on drugs. Then, the only people inclined to come here at all will be those wanting to work since there’s no more free lunch and being able to buy heroin at Seven-Eleven had the predictable effect of cutting the legs off of the Mexican drug cartels.
Here we’d have a win-win-win-lose-lose situation. The winners would be the hard-working Mexican farmhands we rely on to eat, the farmers who employ them and the American people while the losers would be Big-Pharma and the federal government.
So, when viewed thusly, it’s pretty clear why we as a nation will be forever stuck doing things the dumb way; the dumb way always serves the interests of government and its cronies, and those are the only interests government exists to serve.