Archive for Sunday, September 9, 2007

Immigration enforcement debate muddies farm bill

September 9, 2007


— Consumers could see the price of fruits and vegetables double if the nation does not address a looming farm labor shortage in the wake of tightening immigration enforcement, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said Saturday.

Peterson, D-Minn., told producers attending the Kansas State Fair that the agriculture committee will focus on the immigration issue as it strives to do its part to make sure there is adequate labor. He said some crops will not be harvested this year unless something is done.

Peterson said after the forum that he has talked with judiciary committee leaders in an effort to hold either separate or joint hearings on the issue within the next two weeks.

"We are going to let producers come in and tell their stories, what they are concerned about. We think there could be significant increases in food prices caused by this if we don't fix it," Peterson said.

Farmers need a realistic guest worker program, he said.

"Everybody recognizes something has to be done in agriculture, but one of the problems we've got is that people don't want to fix our problems without fixing the rest of it. ... They feel they may lose momentum to get the overall problem solved," he said.

Immigration was on the minds of farmers questioning the Kansas congressional delegation during a forum on the farm bill, a version of which passed the House in July. Peterson said the idea of addressing the agricultural immigration issue in the farm bill has been brought up a number of times.

"My position at this point has been I've got enough problems with what I am dealing with, but it is back being talked about again. It is one of the most serious problems we have in agriculture - what are we going to do about this labor situation," Peterson said.

Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican presidential candidate, said immigration reform has been the most difficult issue he has dealt with in Congress. Brownback, R-Kan., is a member of the Senate judiciary committee, where an immigration bill would need to originate.

The ongoing debate over agriculture immigration comes as lawmakers work on the next farm bill. The version the House passed in July split the Kansas delegation, with Reps. Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran voting against it. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., the Kansas freshman representative on the agriculture committee, supported the bill.

Boyda called it a good bill, although not perfect. It kept its commodity payments, a feat considering 80 percent of Congress represents suburban and urban areas. It is a hard sell to ask for more farm payments when the food stamp program has not had an increase in 20 years. About 12 percent of the farm bill goes to fund farming programs, with the rest funding programs such as food stamps.

Moran told fairgoers he voted against the bill because of last-minute changes such as cuts in crop insurance and the addition of a provision taxing foreign corporations.

"We can do better in regards to many things," Moran said.

It is now up to the Senate to draft its take on a farm bill. Brownback, along with Sen. Pat Roberts, told producers at the fair they too would vote against the current version of the farm bill.

Brownback said he does not think lawmakers should be increasing taxes with a farm bill.

Roberts expressed concern about crop insurance cuts and questioned whether the bill went far enough in consistently paying farmers even during bad crop years.


oldgoof 10 years, 9 months ago

Yup, I have been saying for some time that agriculture will separate some of the men from the boys on the pandering on immigration reform. As Peterson noted: "some crops will not be harvested this year unless something is done"

monkeyhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

ABC news:

"Farmers Turn to Inmates to Ease Labor Shortage Western State Farmers, Facing Unpicked Crops, 'Wondering What The Hell to Do' By ALLISON BATTEY

July 25, 2007-

The ongoing government clampdown on illegal workers in the US is tightening an agricultural labor shortage, prompting farmers facing acres of unpicked crops to replace immigrants with inmates

In Colorado, which last year passed some of the strictest immigration laws in the country, a new program aims to stem a severe labor shortage by using prisoners to work fields once farmed by migrant workers. In Arizona and Idaho, farmers are begging for the expansion of existing prison labor programs as states begin to target employers."

Maybe some of the inmates in our local jail can pick up the abundant trash along 10, just east of the city. It is disgraceful, but just a prelude to the potholes in both lanes just beyond our city limit sign. Who would want to bring a business to a place with that kind of welcome? You know the old saying about first impressions.....

ASBESTOS 10 years, 9 months ago

Selling out the American Citizen AGAIN for another business sector the AGRO BUSINESS sector.

IT is not enought that we taxpayers "SUBSIDISE" these farmers and growner, and give them grants, tax breaks, etc, THEY STILL WANT THE TAXPAYER TO PAY MORE.

This makes me sick. The United States has degraded to the point is "business rules" at all costs. That includes national security and soveriengty!

These political leaders are the worst I have ever seen!

monkeyhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

"The United States has degraded to the point is "business rules" at all costs."

Isn't that what Osama was verbalizing on his latest video?

Tancredo is looking better and better to me every day... He is one of the few who has the guts to stand up to this.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 9 months ago

Please vote against the "AgJOBS bill" because it supports illelgal aliens and there is ALREADY a VISA for this application, it is that the farmers and growers are too lazy to fill it out.

The AgJOBS amnesty is just as anti-worker and anti-sovereignty as the defeated "grand bargain". The only differences between this amnesty and the defeated plan are

  • Its size, and

  • The attempt to sneak it through by attaching it to another bill instead of debating it out in the open where it would surely lose.

Furthermore, there is no need to grant amnesty to an illegal agricultural workforce. The CURRENT H-2A program provides unlimited legal workers to growers. There is simply no excuse for not taking advantage of that program. Growers who refuse to do so are either "too lazy" to do the paperwork or have an aversion to paying the almost-decent wages that the H-2A program requires.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 9 months ago

Irish illegals?Eww...wonder what kind of diseases they brought over? I suppose they went straight to the welfare office or worse,the emergency room.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps you anti-immigration racists should do a huger strike to protest the people who produce all your food.

You certainly aren't grateful that there are people desperate enough to do that back-breaking work for a pittance.

Yes, I think you super patriots and defenders of white American culture should agitate for a living wage so that noble and heroic Americans such as yourself will be willing to do the lettuce picking, cow-killing jobs...and you should be prepared to pay much more for your food to fund their retirements, health insurance, vacations, etc.

Indeed, once relocated to farms, your fellow USA patriot heroes will deserve the wages and benefits denied to these so-called illegals whom you have been taught to despise and fear.

Yes, I propose a white American heroes' hunger strike for a living wage for (white) farm workers: That's the ticket.

I know all you Republican haters of Latinos, Arabs, gays, liberals, scientists, etc., could stand to lose the weight anyway.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 9 months ago

So "Oracle" how is your post railing about "Whites" not racist? Why do you hate "whites" so much? Why on earth would you think your position would not be racist?

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 9 months ago

I love white people so much... what ever do you mean? White people are one reason America is so great, so noble and so exceptionally virtuous. (Except for all the illegal wars and invasions and ethnic cleansing of native people). Yay, whites! Rah, rah.

Too bad all your grandchildren will be named Jose and 100 -percent whites will be a demographic speck. History will remember you fondly. (Except for all the illegal wars and invasions and ethnic cleansing of native people).

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 9 months ago


I think everybody deserves to make a decent living and get benefits regardless of ethnicity or national origin. I believe in human beings of all stripes earning a living wage.

I also think that all the right-wing people who are frightened of Latinos and other immigrants are pathetic and easily snookered.

For my part I feel GRATITUDE to the people who produce my food. I do not FEAR and LOATHE them the way that right-wingers do.

So I suggest that right wingers stop eating.

As for demographics, look for yourself ...

Hispanics have the highest fertility rate of any U.S. minority, with the average Hispanic woman giving birth to three children in her lifetime.

Since 1980, the number of Hispanics in the U.S. has grown five times faster than the rest of the population, making the United States the third largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.

The minority share of the U.S. population has more than doubled since 1950. By 2050, whites who were an 87 percent majority in 1950 will comprise only 53 percent of the U.S. population.

If you don't like it Ad, then get out there and start making lots of little white babies. Otherwise, make sure your kids and grandkids speak Spanish well, since they'll really need to in the future.

ASBESTOS 10 years, 9 months ago

Have you illegal alien lovers done the math yet?

ASBESTOS 10 years, 9 months ago

More numbers from the Kansas and Federal census:

Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 1.74% 5.04% -4.13% 19.15% 3.43% Growth 2000-2005 (non-Hispanic only) 0.19% 4.28% -5.09% 19.19% 2.86% Growth 2000-2005 (Hispanic only) 21.51% 25.88% 3.71% 17.69% 5.86%

Do you really believe that Kansas is a destination for legal hispanic immigrants and hispanic citizens? No way this number is illegal and undocumented. a 21% increase, that is what happens in a sanctuary state!

staff04 10 years, 9 months ago

Dude, did you seriously link to a white nationalist website? WTF were you doing that you came across that?

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