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Discontented migrants, employers and cows

15 April 2013

Is anyone at all happy with the proposed U.S. immigration policy?  It appears from an article in the 12 April New York Times that not even the cows are contented:

The struggles of the dairy industry in western and central New York, one of the nation’s leading dairy regions, have become an unlikely focus of the national debate over immigration policy. Delegations of local farmers, including Mr. True, have made trips to Washington to lobby for an expansion of the guest-worker program for agriculture, or the creation of a new one, to help ensure a reliable supply of labor.

Dairy farmers are generally not able to hire foreign workers through the existing guest-worker program for agriculture because it is only for seasonal workers, and milk production is year-round.

itemprop=”articleBody”>A bipartisan group of senators negotiating a comprehensive immigration reform bill have struggled with the details of an agricultural workers program. Late Friday, however, they announced they had reached an agreement over terms of the program. Officials involved in the talks said the dairy industry’s concerns were addressed in the deal.

Still, the farmers said they were preparing for a lengthy fight in Congress before the proposals become reality.

Kirk Semple, “Focus on Dairy Farmers in Immigration Debate” NYT 14-04-2013)

Consuela Crow (Mexmigration Blog) on the proposals for U.S. immigration “reform” that may be nothing more than a recycled Bracero program.

We are in the midst of a sustained cycle of neo-nativist sentiment and a social climate in which the immigrant has become one of the most hated and dreaded others. This climate also continues to shape and constrain debates on “meaningful” immigration reform. There are loud and intensifying calls to further reinforce our borders with more fencing, surveillance equipment, boots on the ground, and drones in the skies.

Anti-immigrant groups throughout the country to hold a commitment upsidedowncowto a ‘Latino Threat Narrative’ with the usual telluric proclamations about protecting and defending our country, our economy, our freedom – all of which are seen is at risk or in shambles because the “illegals” are invading and violating our borders. In the worst manifestation of this threat narrative, the right-wing blogosphere is teeming with websites that compare the Mexican to “cockroaches” and “over-breeding vermin” that are “stealing” that which is the most sacred of all American birthrights, “our jobs”.

At the same time, there is another narrative emerging that does not view the Mexican as a threat. This neoliberal narrative sees the Mexican as a source of “cheap,”  “acquiescent,” “reliable,” and “productive” – if a bit “quirky” – labor. The emergence of this narrative occurs like clockwork and is starting just as the broad outline of a new and expanded guest worker program begins to take shape as part of the debate over comprehensive immigration reform.

Mexican Workers for Dummies (8 April 2013)



One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 April 2013 10:35 pm

    Details leaking out and occasionally being discussed (floated) seem to show that it’s an awful mess of punitive measures and ‘tough guy’ blather to placate the know-nothing base of one party which has been whipped into a lather during years of openly racist proclamations and now has to be “sold” on a “compromise” their leaders propose.

    “Border security, etc, blah, blah…”

    Not that the other party has anything to crow about what with their love affair with stomping down corporate employment costs with plenty of high tech workers so that shortages (and the need to raise salaries) are never seen.

    Overall, it gives me a foreboding feeling. The Congress is so dysfunctional these days that anything they can all agree upon has got to be an ugly hash of misguided solutions that no one can actually live with. Time will tell.

    My preferred solution: give everyone who is not a felon papers immediately. Get everyone “on the books.” Then open the border and let folks travel back and forth freely. Rather than border security, beef up labor law enforcement so that minimum wages, OSHA regs, and all other labor laws are strictly obeyed. Give everyone a number to call for labor violations and make sure there’s staff to respond.

    Of course, there’s a fat chance in hell that will ever happen. Make corporations obey laws? What? Are you kidding!?!? That’s only for brown people at the border, not for the ownership.

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