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Why are members of Congress pushing the AgJOBS bill for amnesty for illegal farm workers and with provision to give H-2A guest workers permanent resident in the U. S.?

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Don't members of Congress know that there are millions of Americans and legal immigrants unemployed in the U. S.? Why are they still pushing to get amnesty for illegal farm workers and working to get permanent residency status for both the illegals and the H-2A guest workers? There is no shortage of people willing to work on the farms and there is no necessity for this bill.
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Letter from my congressman on AgJobs Bill:

May 21, 2009

Ms. Wanda (Edited Address Out)

Dear Ms. ******** (Edited):

Thank you for contacting me in regards to your concerns with H.R. 2414, the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this matter with me.

Representative Howard Berman introduced H.R. 2414, the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009 (AgJOBS Act of 2009). This legislation attempts to put undocumented agricultural workers on the path to citizenship. Specifically, H.R. 2414 contains an "earned legalization" program which would allow illegal immigrant workers and H-2A guest workers to obtain a "blue card" temporary immigration status. This status would allow them the possibility of becoming permanent residents of the U.S. through continued work in agriculture. A second part of the legislation would make revisions to the existing H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program.

Please know that I will not support any bill that contains amnesty provisions. Past amnesties have not reduced illegal immigration; rather they have increased illegal immigration. Amnesty rewards those who broke our laws, thereby encouraging others to do the same. Our immigration policy must reflect our core belief that entry into the United States is not a right, but a privilege. Rest assured that I will support immigration policy that is fair, responsible and that is respectful of our current immigration law. As a member of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, I look forward to working on immigration reform and finding substantive solutions to our nation's most pressing immigration issues.

As your Representative in Congress, I appreciate your input in this matter. As always, if I may be of assistance to you on this, or any other issue, please feel free to contact me in my Washington DC office at (202) 225-6365 or online at http://randyforbes.house.gov. With kind personal regards, I am

Yours truly,

J. RANDY FORBES

Member of Congress

JRF:WH
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Senate and House Reintroduce AgJOBS Amnesty

Updated Friday, May 15, 2009, 10:17 AM
(numbersusa.com)

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Reps. Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Howard Berman (D-CA) reintroduced the AgJOBS Amnesty in both the House (H.R.2414) and Senate (S.1038). The bill would offer Amnesty to illegal aliens (and their families) who can show that they've illegally worked in the country over the past five years.

The AgJOBS bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to grant an "emergency" Amnesty to more than 1 million illegal aliens, using an "emergency agricultural worker status." In order to qualify for the Amnesty, illegal aliens would need to (based on the 2008 version):

* show that they worked 863 hours or 150 work days or earned at least $7,000 in agricultural employment during the past four years,
* file an Amnesty application through DHS or a "qualified designated entity" during an 18-month application period,
* not be a known terrorist or convicted criminal,
* and pay a fine of $250.

Once an illegal alien meets the minimum requirements, they can acquire legal status for their spouse and children, get a social security card, and become immune to future prosecution for social security fraud.

To maintain their "emergency agricultural worker status," former illegal aliens would have to complete 100 days of agricultural work each year for up to five years, allowing them to compete for American jobs the other 265 days per year. They would also be required to pay federal income taxes.
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No Shortage of Farm Workers in Florida

Monday, May 18, 2009, 7:45 AM

The home building industry was one of the hardest hit with the onset of the current recession, and the impact sent an abundance of workers from the construction site to the farms. According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times, farmers in suburban Tampa’s Plant City saw no shortage of farm workers this spring despite the efforts of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) who proposed the AgJOBS Amnesty late last week.

Plant City is known as the nation’s “Strawberry Capital” and just a few years ago Carl Grooms, owner of Fancy Farms, said there wasn’t enough help for his toughest job of planting and picking strawberries. But since the housing collapse, things have been different. Grooms filled his 300 daily slots this spring without a problem, and often had 20-30 extra workers show up every day just in case there were no-shows. Grooms also said in the St. Petersburg Times article, workers were coming from Orlando, which is more than 60 miles away.

Plant City is in Florida’s 12th district represented by Rep. Adam Putnam who was one of the original sponsors the House version of the AgJOBS Amnesty bill that was reintroduced into Congress last week. Sen. Dianne Feinstein sponsors the Senate version of the bill. The Senate version has 16 cosponsors, and 26 have signed onto the House version.

The title of Sen. Feinstein’s bill is “To improve agricultural job opportunities, benefits, and security for aliens in the United States,” but with nearly 14 million people out of work, this is a bad time to introduce an amnesty for illegal aliens when legal immigrants are having a tough time finding steady work in the fields. And Rep. Putnam doesn’t even know what the situation is in his own district.

The United States already allows for migrant agricultural workers through the H-2A visa program. Currently, there are about 30,000 H-2A visas issued by USCIS.
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(Sample Letter to representatives)

Dear ________________________________:

I hope you are not considering cosponsoring the AgJOBS amnesty! The H-2A program provides growers with unlimited temporary labor, making the AgJOBS amnesty totally unnecessary.

AgJOBS will not give growers the "stable, legal workforce" AgJOBS supporters claim they want. AgJOBS is nothing more than an indentured servitude program because the amnesty recipients are required to work agricultural jobs for a certain number of years before they are rewarded with a green card. This means that business owners can continue to mistreat and underpay illegal agricultural workers while they are waiting to receive their amnesty. AgJOBS will not help these workers, it will only make their lives worse.

Just as with the 1986 amnesty, once AgJOBS illegal workers receive their legal status, they will leave agriculture for more lucrative jobs, thereby depressing the wages of American workers in other sectors. Also, AgJOBS does nothing to prevent the next wave of illegal agricultural workers.

The only path to a stable, legal workforce is to increase wages and improve working conditions. Please continue to oppose the AgJOBS amnesty and support legislation that would help unemployed American workers!

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Recession forces immigrants back to work in fields

By Saundra Amrhein, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Monday, May 4, 2009
http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article997735.ece
PLANT CITY

Israel Lopez remembers the day he drove away from the home that was almost his.

Friends waved goodbye in the street. Behind them sat the mobile home where Lopez and his wife had painted the ceilings sky blue, the walls white.

Lopez hoped to set down roots in that small home near Charleston, S.C., a safe place where their son could grow up with lots of friends and huge soccer fields. He had a high-paying construction job that gave Lopez, an undocumented immigrant, the leverage he needed to climb from Mexico's strawberry fields toward the American middle class.

But last year Lopez was laid off as the construction industry collapsed, along with his dreams of home ownership. Lopez drove away that November day with what remained of the home's down payment in his pocket. They headed south, toward Florida, returning to the strawberry fields.

He was not alone. Lopez, 26, became one of thousands of immigrants — both legal and illegal — to flood farm fields this year, slipping back into the shadows of the migratory lifestyle they'd fought for years to leave behind.

"I was very sad leaving the house that day," Lopez said. "I was as sad as the day I left Mexico."

• • •

The children started to disappear in early April.

Migrating families usually leave for field work in northern states in late May or June when school lets out, said Roy Moral, the principal at Cypress Creek Elementary in Ruskin, where 13 percent of students are from migrant families.

But this year, they were gone early. Locally, there weren't enough strawberry jobs to go around. At Cypress Creek, 30 percent of the students' families labor in the fields, Moral said. With field and construction jobs in short supply, some fathers who stopped migrating years ago began moving alone around Florida in search of work.

Legal immigrants — who held the advantage with proper work documents — competed with illegal immigrants for even the toughest of field jobs, planting and picking strawberries.

Just a few years ago, during the construction boom, farmers worried about getting enough workers to move the strawberries out of the fields, said Carl Grooms, owner of Fancy Farms in Plant City.

But this year, he filled his 300 daily slots without a problem. Usually 15 to 20 extra workers showed up to fill in for no-shows. But one day at the start of the season, Grooms drove into the fields and saw about 150 workers standing around. Some had come from as far as Orlando.

Epifanio Hernandez, 39, returned to the strawberry fields for three months this year after he lost his roofing job.

A legal immigrant, he picked strawberries and oranges in Florida in the late 1980s before working up through cable, manufacturing and plumbing jobs.

"I was looking around for anything," said Hernandez, who has an $800 monthly mortgage and five children to support.

Alvaro Pascual, 33, of Dover said the added competition cost him about a week's worth of work during the strawberry season, which ended around late March. He plans to work through the spring squash season and then head to Michigan with his wife and three children.

The traveling wears on Pascual's family. But at least with agriculture work, his family can get help with day care, he said.

Barbara Mainster is the director of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a nonprofit that provides day care and Head Start programs for migrant families across Florida.

Swamped with families returning to farm work, her agency applied for federal dollars to open six new centers statewide.

"We need another center in Plant City and Dover, desperately," she said. "Everywhere, there is a need."

• • •

Those first days in Plant City's strawberry fields this winter, Israel Lopez's back ached. He worked so slowly he barely cleared $100 a week. "It's hard to get used to this again," said Lopez, who had been away from the fields for seven years.

In South Carolina, Lopez was a machine operator on a construction crew, making between $750 and $1,400 a week. He had saved enough to send for his wife and son.

Over time, Lopez bought three used vehicles. He and his wife fixed up a mobile home. He saved $12,000 for a down payment. They decorated it with bamboo plants and landscape photos and filled it with toys for their 4-year-old son, Albert.

When Lopez lost his job last year, he sold his vehicles and paid $500 for a ride to Plant City, where he'd heard there was work in the fields. Those first difficult weeks, they lived off savings, paying $50 a week for a room in a trailer they share with another family. They missed their large network of friends in South Carolina.

Eventually, Lopez relearned the knack of cupping the strawberry, breaking it at the stem without bruising the fruit. Soon he was making $600 a week. His wife earned $400.

Lopez and his wife will work through the squash and vegetable season this spring and summer in Plant City and then head north, probably to Michigan. He hopes to stop migrating by the time Albert starts elementary school.

"The most important thing is to have a stable job and make a good salary," he said.

Lopez has not forgotten about his home. Whether back in South Carolina or here in Florida, he still plans to buy one.

"One day not too far away," he said, "I'm going to accomplish my dream."
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  • CC 2009/05/25 02:35:37
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    CC
    +1
    I contacted Adam (turncoat) Putnam and he replied back to me mostly sighting how Americans won't do these jobs and that's why we need this.....He has been a real disappointment!!!!
  • Wanda52... CC 2009/05/25 18:20:28
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    +1
    Total B/S because you have legal immigrants who were working in the construction industry going back to working in the fields to support their families. There is no reason for this amnesty bill.
  • Diane T 2009/05/24 18:07:37
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    Diane T
    +1
    It is my understanding that there is already a type work visa that permits people to work LEGALLY.
  • Wanda52... Diane T 2009/05/25 00:50:04
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    +1
    I think that that visa is the H-2A; but Congress has put in the AgJOBS Amnesty bill a way for workers on the H-2A Guest Worker Visa to become citizens of the US and this is not right. The whole point of the guest worker visa is that they are a guest of the US and are going to return to their native country when the job is complete. This bill would change that and allow them to work toward becoming citizens of the US.
  • Diane T Wanda52... 2009/05/25 23:14:32
    Diane T
    +1
    Well ya, No it isn't right or fair to those who do things the right way..
    Next question what about these anchor babies?
  • Medic_25 2009/05/23 18:57:06 (edited)
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    Medic_25
    +2
    It was tried in the last administration, thank god we beat it down. Now we must speak even louder since we have these Nit Wit's in office looking for more votes.
  • Mark P. 2009/05/23 02:04:43
    None of the above
    Mark P.
    +1
    This is the next voting bock for the Libs.
  • Legend 2009/05/22 16:35:28
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    Legend
    +1
    Oct. 17, 2007: Lou Dobbs in his CNN commentary "Beware the Lame Duck" opined, "Although many conservatives refuse to accept the reality, George W. Bush is a one-word neo-liberal who drove budget and trade deficits to record heights... President Bush pressed hard for the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the first step toward a NORTH AMERICAN UNION that will threaten our sovereignty. The administration has permitted American businesses to hire illegal aliens, encouraged the invasion of 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens and has given Mexico and corporate America dominion over our borders and immigration policy... The assault on our national sovereignty continues... The president is urging the Senate to act favorably on our accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea... The treaty will submit the United States to international tribunals largely adverse to our interests, and dispute-resolution mechanisms are stacked against the United States... The treaty would undermine our national sovereignty and act as a back door for global environmental activists to direct U.S. policy."
  • lady_c5_loadmaster 2009/05/22 15:19:18
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    lady_c5_loadmaster
    +3
    They want the illigals to become legal so they will register and vote democrate and get us further away from the framework of the constitution.
  • irish 2009/05/22 13:46:08
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    irish
    +2
    so much for representing the will of the people!!! these idiots think they are above the people! time to bring them all down!
  • ☼ Homeward Bound ☼ 2009/05/22 13:15:28
    None of the above
    ☼ Homeward Bound ☼
  • Lorenzo 2009/05/22 11:11:50
    I have no idea why they are doing this. I think that these members of Congre...
    Lorenzo
    +4
    The citizens of the USA do not want illegals here. But somebody else sure does. So much for representive government.
  • Brainfart " Bane of the Col... 2009/05/22 09:40:18 (edited)
    I have no idea why they are doing this. I think that these members of Congre...
    Brainfart " Bane of the Collective "
    +6
    The New Democrats..

    members congress idiots newest democrats
  • safari 2009/05/22 09:05:10
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    safari
    +4
    I've heard the argument too many times and it fails each and every time I hear it.

    This is just stupid and it will not save anyone any money in the long run you can bet on that! Thanks for the heads up - somehow I missed this altogether. I am so glad you passed it on. I will get on this one with my reps and see what kind of stupid letter I get back.

    Just get them out of here! Then let them apply for citizenship like every one else did. I have no problems with people who want to be citizens of America but please, do it legally and pay into our huge tax burden not be a drain on it.
  • Diane T safari 2009/05/24 18:06:28
    Diane T
    +2
    I don't get anything from my rep.. Last letter told her she works for me and I will fire her. see if that gets a response.
  • Wanda52... Diane T 2009/05/25 00:53:11
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    +2
    If that does not work, try faxing it to the leaders of Congress (both parties) as well as the president, that is what I did when Sen. Webb kept brushing me off. Now I have the direct line phone number to his personal assistant as a result of the fax that I sent. Sometimes it pays to be just plain nasty sweet with these assholes in Congress.
  • Diane T Wanda52... 2009/05/25 23:15:20
    Diane T
    I hear ya.. change of tactics
  • safari Diane T 2009/05/25 06:18:49
    safari
    +2
    I almost always say, how I vote during the next election will be determined by your position on this issue. I don't know if it helps but I throw it in there anyway. I have a little score card for them. lol - One has already announced he won't run again though so he is a lame duck and doesn't care what people say.
  • Diane T safari 2009/05/25 23:16:15
    Diane T
    +2
    As an optimist my score card has been for good guys its also shorter..
    Now I see need 2 lists
  • safari Diane T 2009/05/26 06:32:14
    safari
    +2
    Oh for sure two lists! lol I know which one of mine is higher... But I keep an issue list and enter votes that is how I really do it. It saves time when elections roll around. Even though there are places to look up voting records I found that pretty timely when I have my own notes ready to go. It helps.
  • Diane T safari 2009/05/31 00:39:20
    Diane T
    +1
    Excellent idea..
  • NotWithoutAFight 2009/05/22 01:22:02
    I have no idea why they are doing this. I think that these members of Congre...
    NotWithoutAFight
    +5
    As someone else said (thanks!) it is to import voters.

    They will be on the fast track to citizenship too.

    Disgusting.
  • PootiesMom...Holy is the Ki... 2009/05/21 22:40:22
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    PootiesMom...Holy is the King of Kings
    +5
    All they are working for is the next elections to insure that they stay in office!
  • Alleycat 2009/05/21 21:37:50
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    Alleycat
    +6
    The democrats are importing voters, they've go to make them legal so can vote or do they?
  • aherbert 2009/05/21 20:04:46
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    aherbert
    +2
    illegal farm workers - the key word is illegal ..... I don't know why the elected officials don't understand that we do not support anything illegal ..... it is just wrong in so many way .... I am writting my congress people AGAIN as I live on a border state and I am over people working and living in my country ILLEGALLY.....
  • Wanda52... aherbert 2009/05/21 20:07:25
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    +3
    If you will notice they are trying to give the guest workers a path to citizenship as well. I thought the whole purpose of the guest worker program was for the workers to come work and then go back home.
  • aherbert Wanda52... 2009/05/21 20:20:04
    aherbert
    +2
    Right! these illegal’s living here getting guest passes is wrong in so many ways ... I will just start with the resources they are consuming i.e. jobs, health benefits, swamping the educational system and so much more. We are in big trouble as there are so many here in America ... I don't have the answers on the best way to rectify the issue I just no for sure something needs to happen and what I do not want to happen is giving them a free pass to be a citizen in our Country ... it is just wrong!
  • Wanda52... aherbert 2009/05/21 20:25:32
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    +1
    I totally agree with you on that point. Amnesty did not work before and it is not going to work now.
  • sglmom 2009/05/21 19:47:51
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    sglmom
    +4
    Those within the Beltway do NOT CARE at all about Legal Americans/Citizens. Enough Said.
  • sglmom sglmom 2009/05/21 19:54:11
    sglmom
    +1
    I've already sent another e-mail on this issue today as well.
  • SkitterD 2009/05/21 19:14:43
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    SkitterD
    +4
    They're trying to start a civil war around the world to start and avalance to cause kaos and disorder so they can bring Marshall law in and kill all governmental control. Mark my word!
  • snell/GOD & COUNTRY-zero cl... 2009/05/21 19:14:38
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    snell/GOD & COUNTRY-zero cliques
    +3
    I believe that YES they are all idiots - but for their agenda which is to use the 'reason' of making it better for farmers and ultimately US commerce while smoke and screening towards One World Government and stark socialism.
  • WannaBeRSC the Contrarian SOB 2009/05/21 19:00:52
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    WannaBeRSC the Contrarian SOB
    +4
    Maybe they expect the American unemployed to move to Mexico and take over our illegals jobs.
  • MrDazzling aka Mr.Brat~ 2009/05/21 18:25:25
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    MrDazzling aka Mr.Brat~
    +6
    Congress does not give a rats ass or want to hear what the majority want. That is obvious how many times this issues comes up. I will not surrender...If your representative are up for reelection in 2010, do not reelect them, same the the rest in 2012. Have you had enough?!

    Write and be heard as many times as it takes...
    http://numbersusa.org/
  • ☆Hitler was a community org... 2009/05/21 18:08:44
    I have no idea why they are doing this. I think that these members of Congre...
    ☆Hitler was a community organiz☆
    +5
    I noticed that the language of his letter was very ambiguous
    was he really talking out of both sides of his mouth?
  • Wanda52... ☆Hitler... 2009/05/21 18:13:57
    Wanda5245 - Citizen Activist Who Wants Spunkysmum Back On SH
    +2
    From every thing that he has sent me, he does not seem to be in favor of any kind of amnesty; and he generally listens to what his constituents tell him that they want.
    What surprised me was that I did not know that this bill was also trying to give guest workers a path to citizenship. This is just one more strike against the guest worker program which I had been in favor of up until this point.
  • ☆Hitler... Wanda52... 2009/05/21 18:17:43 (edited)
    ☆Hitler was a community organiz☆
    +3
    yes, and I see it as a way to blur the differance...which is what you said
  • KoolBreeze † The Paladin † 2009/05/21 17:11:43
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    KoolBreeze † The Paladin †
    +6
    The politicians are looking for new voters to buy their Snake Oil.

    Photobucket
  • jr 2009/05/21 17:10:09
    They are pushing their agenda and they do not care about the unemployed Ameri...
    jr
    +4
    The libs are looking for votes anyway thay can get them. :o)
  • MrDazzl... jr 2009/05/21 18:26:15
    MrDazzling aka Mr.Brat~
    +4
    bingo!

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