Although Congress has a reputation for failing to work together, an immigration watchdog says lawmakers cooperated to pass a terrible bill.
Ira Mehlman and the Federation for Immigration Reform opposed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which passed in the House 260-165 December 11.
Mehlman tells OneNewsNow the bill expands the country’s already-massive guest worker program and adds thousands of “green cards,” too.
"There's nothing modern about this,” Mehlman insists. “Modernization would mean using technology, using mechanization, to improve the efficiency of American agriculture. This kind of enshrines 19th Century labor practices that aren't going to push us forward. They're going to be keeping us back."
Why? Because there is no incentive for farms to modernize if they use cheap labor.
An op-ed published at National Review also makes the same argument: by wooing illegal aliens with a future green card, today’s farms have no reason to modernize much like cotton farmers did decades ago, when share-cropping families left for better pay and forced cotton farms to look to automation.
Study proves need to address purpose, history of 14th Amendment
Recently, the Center for Immigration Studies released a report revealing that there are roughly 372,000 births annually to illegal aliens, tourists, and temporary visa holders in the United States.
The group, which pushes for immigration reform, says the U.S. remains one of only 30 countries that grant automatic birthright citizenship. Some scholars question, however, whether the birthright provision of the 14th Amendment really applies to the offspring of illegal aliens and temporary visitors.
Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says in many cases these are women who don't live here at all.
“These are women who came to the United States in later segments of pregnancy,” he says, “specifically for the purpose of giving birth in this country because they know that that will grant citizenship to their children.”
That allowance was not the intention of the 14th Amendment, he insists, but an “abuse” of the citizenship clause that applied to emancipated slaves after the Civil War.
The commentary by Mark Krikorian, who leads the Center for Immigration Studies, describes the now-passed legislation as “indentured-servant schemes” because it keeps illegal aliens tied to a farm job with the promise of a green card years down the road.
The commentary explains further:
To prevent the newly legalized illegals from running off to take construction or service jobs in town, the bill gives them a new “Certified Agricultural Worker” visa, which they need to keep for a period of time before becoming free workers. For those who’d already worked illegally in farming for at least ten years, the period of indenture would be four years; eight years for those who’d been working in farming for less than ten years. Only after putting in their time would the amnestied illegals be able to upgrade to get green cards and leave plantation labor behind.
Southern sharecroppers, in fact, were often unable to leave the cotton fields because they owed the landowners for daily expenses that often exceeded their miserly income.
What goes unaddressed in the bill: according to Mehlman, reforming the broken immigration system and deterring illegal aliens are both missing.
An estimated 1.5 million immigrant farm workers are expected to benefit from the program.
Mehlman tells OneNewsNow he is not sure what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will do when the bill reaches the Senate.
“Maybe he'll bring it up. Maybe he won't bring it up,” Mehlman says. “But the bottom line is this is a bill that never should have passed the House.”