News & Politics

House Sneaks Through Amnesty Bill, Subsidizing Visa Farmworkers While Nation Focused on Impeachment

Laborers harvest spinach on a farm northeast of Denver near Brighton, Colo., Tuesday, July 11, 2006. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

H.R. 5038, passed with a majority in Congress, will subsidize illegal farmworkers over their American counterparts. Thirty-four Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for the bill. As the nation was focused on impeachment, H.R. 5038 sailed through the House with very little press coverage. Breitbart reports,

The bill, H.R. 5038, would likely amnesty more than a million illegal aliens, and it also subsidizes farm companies that hire more H-2A visa workers instead of hiring Americans.Those subsidies for hiring foreign H-2A workers include rules to cut the H-2A workers’ pay below the expected 2020 rates, plus massive housing subsidies for the migrant workers. The biggest subsidy, however, is that employers will be allowed to dangle the prize of Americans’ citizenship to H-2A migrants who agree to work at low wages for long hours in harsh conditions.

The language of the bill does exclude anyone who has been convicted of any felony or some misdemeanors. The act, however, will have negative effects on Americans who work the same jobs.

Americans comprise roughly three-quarters of the 2.1 million workers in farming, fishing, and forestry, according to a November 2018 report by the Pew Research Center. In contrast, the workforce includes 325,000 illegal workers, or one-in-six of the workforce, said Pew. The estimate of working illegal aliens is far below the Democrats’ estimate of two million illegal aliens who will benefit from an amnesty.

Critics also worry that the subsidies will retard technological growth in the industry, putting American farms at a disadvantage worldwide.

The subsidies for hiring H-2As will also discourage farm companies from buying the American-made farm machinery that reduces the need for farmworkers. If American farmers then decline to develop and buy modern machinery, such as semi-automated fruit pickers, they will lag further behind their increasingly sophisticated foreign rivals.

Media silence was noted as being helpful to Democrats by William Gheen, founder of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, who told Breitbart, “I did not detect anything about this vote, other than Breitbart … Drudge readers were completely in the dark,” Matt Drudge has been criticized lately for being so focused on negative stories about Trump that he has transformed his site, which was notoriously a sounding alarm for conservative causes, into a mainstream media echo chamber.

Without recognizing that the majority of farmworkers in America are Americans through birth or legal immigration, politicians harm these families who will be sidelined for the cheaper labor coming from foreign countries, as farmers are incentivized to choose illegals over Americans for work. The bill even includes housing subsidies for the workers on H-2A visas.

Breitbart reports that no Republicans or anyone else spoke up for the rights of American workers in the hearings for this bill. Democrats like Nancy Pelosi are heralding it as good for American workers because it includes a wage freeze for H-2A visa workers. So while they will not see an increase, wages will rise for American workers. This practically ensures that farmers will hire foreign workers at lower wages over Americans. It also does nothing to improve the wages of the H-2A workers, a thing Democrats continue to insist they want.

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter