February 21, 2013

Big growers worried new "guest" workers will try to flee

With immigration policy in the news, crops are rotting in the field, right on cue. From the Los Angeles Times:
Lack of immigration reform threatens California farmers 
Growers have difficulty fielding adequate crews to harvest crops; Washington has a shot this year at providing meaningful relief. 
Except for illegal immigrants, no group has more at stake in the national fight over immigration reform than California farmers. 
"It doesn't pay to plant a product if you can't harvest it," notes Mark Teixeira of Santa Maria, who says he had to let 22 acres of vegetables rot last year because he couldn't find enough field hands to gather the crop. "That hurts." 
As security has tightened along the California-Mexican border, the flow of illegal immigrant labor into the nation's most productive agriculture state has slowed significantly, farm interests say. ... 
Any time some demagogic politician bellows about rounding up all the illegal immigrants and shipping them back to their own country, it sends chills up farmers' spines. 
Roughly two-thirds of the state's crop workers "are not properly documented," says Rayne Pegg, who heads the federal policy division of the California Farm Bureau.

John Carney at CNBC on the never-ending greed of big growers when it comes to immigration policy:
Remember when farm owners were loudly complaining to any available journalist that there was a nationwide farm labor crisis due to overly restrictive immigration policy? 
Well, they're still saying that. But now they are also worried that proposals to create a "path to citizenship" for immigrants currently living illegally in the United States might also create a farm labor shortage. As it turns out, the farm lobby is worried that once we legalize these immigrants, they won't want to work on farms anymore. 
There's good reason for the farm lobby to worry about this. Once authorized to work in the U.S., many farm workers will no doubt seek employment in less onerous conditions. This happened after the last immigration amnesty in 1986. Unless a new wave of illegal immigration follows, farm owners would truly have to compete in the broader — legal — jobs market. Wages would have to rise or farms will have trouble attracting workers. 
The farm lobby has a not-quite-novel solution to this situation: mandatory farm labor. 
The Wall Street Journal explains: 
The tight labor market explains why farm groups are pressing Congress to include, in any immigration overhaul, provisions that would ensure a steady flow of workers and prevent an exodus of newly legalized laborers from the sector. 

Traditional methods for preventing an exodus of workers from the agricultural sector have included chaining workers together, and, if they run, hunting them down with packs of baying bloodhounds. Perhaps a revival of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1857 could be slipped into the back pages of the "immigration reform" legislation.

Modern crop-rot-fever advocates are thinking of carrots as well as sticks:
Under one possible scenario, agriculture workers would earn permanent legal residency by working a certain number of days on farms each year; those who worked longer would get a green card sooner.

Let's unpack that for a minute. In other words, big growers want to bribe their guest workers by getting to decide if they can stay permanently in our country: i.e., stop being guests, if the growers like them.

The essence of being a "guest" is that eventually you leave. But who cares about that?

Growers don't want to pay enough wages or pay for enough accommodations (e.g., shade tarps for stoop laborers) to get Americans to appy for these jobs, and they don't even want to pay enough to keep foreigners working at them. So, they want to bribe their foreign workers by having the rest of us give their workers legal permanent residency in return for accepting terrible wages from the growers. 

Privatize profits, socialize costs.

As Lee Kuan Yew has noticed, big growers importing fruit-pickers over the generations explains a lot about California's terrible NAEP test scores today. Nobody, even illegal immigrants, wants to do that job for long at the prices growers pay, so the illegals move on to other jobs in America, and the growers import new illegals. But, and here's the thing that nobody is so supposed to ever think about: the illegals who came from Mexico to do stoop labor two generations ago are, to a depressing degree, the grandparents of today's high school dropouts. We're not seeing a rapid climb up the productivity and net taxpaying scale by lineages that started with illegal immigrant farmworkers. I'm sure there are a few exceptions here and there, but, on average, not many.

So, the growers are permanently changing the demographics of America to save themselves a few bucks in wages per hour and in, you know, not cropdusting herbicides on the workers, that kind of thing.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Then why did so many illegals flood into this country in the past 20 yrs with no 'reform'?

Anonymous said...

Then why did so many illegals flood into this country in the past 20 yrs with no 'reform'?

What is this question responding to?

Roland said...

One of the commenters on today's NYT pro-amnesty editorial described how farmers were afraid to go to the trouble to get legal guest workers through the H-2A program because workers they had paid to bring over were likely, once they had legit SSNs in hand, to fly the coop for better opportunities somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/022013-645119-jesse-jackson-jr-indictment-black-congressional-caucus.htm?src=IBDDAE#ixzz2LYT8N6CF

Obama as useful cover for white liberals to crack down on grassroots black power.
Would this be happening if the president were white, especially republican?

Put Obama on top of the tree while weeding out black leaders.

Anonymous said...

How about a new bill?

If you want welfare, you gotta work the fields.

Anonymous said...

Immigration makes the United States more dependent on foreign oil. Our dependence on foreign oil helps Israel's enemies.

Discuss.

Anonymous said...

So, the growers are permanently changing the demographics of America to save themselves a few bucks in wages per hour and in, you know, not cropdusting herbicides on the workers, that kind of thing.

This post is so correct and you nailed it at the end. Why can't we get the GOP, and even the Democrats, to acknowledge this?

It is as plain as the nose on your face. People get worked up over the threat of man-made global warming and want us to change our lives whether there is concrete proof or not. People get upset that Iran is going to take over the world, and so we must act now to prevent a nuclear Iran.

Yet what Sailer writes is true, is happening and no one wants to discuss it. Instead they do everything they can to exacerbate it. Good grief. We are screwed.

Even Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew is telling Americans not to practice "immigration of the fruit pickers"

Cail Corishev said...

Indentured servitude -- it's not just for Europeans anymore!

Indentured servitude -- all the best corporations are doing it!

Indentured servitude -- catch the wave!

Anonymous said...

Nobel Prize Winner and Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew: "Multiculturalism Will Destroy America"

Lee credits the resounding success of the United States with two key factors: a unifying language, English, because of it's ease to learn and demographics. But, he warns the country's mass immigration policies risk destroying all that. “Multiculturalism will destroy America," he said.

http://thekansascitian.blogspot.com/2013/02/dont-take-fruit-pickers-says-sage-of.html

Anonymous said...

Historical constant: rich folk likes dey cheap labor.

Anonymous said...

There is a massive disconnect between the fact that the US has 8% (in reality it's probably much higher) and yet foreigners need to be imported to ensure that the agriculture sector continues to function. The US is not long for this world at this rate.

Anonymous said...

What does this mean? If Mexico didn't exist, we would starve?

And what happens if Mexico becomes middle class and no longer has lots of kids? No more illegal workers? So, will we gringos all starve?

Mexicans, please remain poor and keep having kids. Otherwise, we gringos will all starvez.

FWG said...

Why does Mark Teixeira have to farm? Doesn't he make enough with the Yankees?

Anonymous said...

Now, I know why all them Jews are starving to death in Israel. The walls are keeping out the Palestinian olive pickers!!!

Tear down the wall, feed the Jews, and stop the genocide!

And now I know why all those Ukrainians died under Stalin! Russians didn't bring in Mexicans to harvest the wheat!

And I know how to end the problem of hunger in Africa. Send Africans over there to pick tomatoes. End the tomatocaust.



Anonymous said...

How the hell did the crops get picked from 1925-1980? I don't peronsally don't remember *any* farm labor shortage in the 1970s.

FWG said...

Sad, Democrats get more voters while Republican-voting bigwigs get cheap labor. And any opposition to illegal immigration is spun as ostensibly racist.

Anonymous said...

"Blacks should pick cotton"

RACIST!!

"Mexicans should pick tomatoes"

PROGRESSIVE!!

Anonymous said...

America in the 21st century.

Mexicans pick fruits, and fruits pick on us.

Anonymous said...

You have to hand it to cheap labor interests: they have craftily made poor foreigners the face of plutocracy--hand over the money or the campesino gets it!

If it weren't for the diversity angle, would MSM outlets like the LA Times ever be so credulous about a rent-seeking business lobby? Would they describe critics of the oil industry as demogogues?

But filling the country with Mexicans is a Good Thing, and the farm lobby wants to do just that, so their motive must be something pure. Behold the earnest grief of those poor farmers as they contemplate the thought of crops rotting in the fields!

Fernandinande said...

"he had to let 22 acres of vegetables rot last year"

Average Farm Size: 311 acres

Total Farmland: 25.3 million acres


Anonymous said...

Is is still "sustainable agriculture" if the workers keep leaving?

Baloo said...

Thanks for the Lee Kuan Yew link, Anon. I've reposted it.
http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2013/02/lee-kuan-yew-for-president.html

Anonymous said...

My proposal moved Farming to Mexico. When Farmers complain and moved to Mexcio people got more upset than factories did.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they were Mexicans in the pre-1980 group that had dads that work in the fields and they became politicans. I think this was more true of pre-1980 Mexican immirgants than today.

The Frankfurt School said...

But, he warns the country's mass immigration policies risk destroying all that. “Multiculturalism will destroy America," he said.

Precisely as intended.

MOO HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

jody said...

"crops rotting in the fields" is right up there with "walls don't work". the exact opposite of reality. the US produces so much food it has to export most of it. americans can barely put a dent in how much food the US produces. and total output is going up, not down.

even density of output is going up. bushels of crop produced per acre is rising. due to improved crop strains and seeds from US labs, improved fertilizer, and improved mechanized farming, which is soon to be robot farming.

bushels of crop produced can go down in a drought, which it did in 2012, but increasing the number of illegal aliens does nothing to offset that. in fact, the best thing US agriculture can do is to remove all illegal aliens, forcing itself to roboticize production as much as possible, which will increase, not decrease, bushels per acre, and decrease, not increase, long term cost to produce. this is how they do it in the netherlands, where there are no mexicans.

in fact an interesting study would be to try to determine the year in which slave labor would be economically phased out of farming, if it had not been ended by force. how far into the future beyond 1865 would slave labor been economical in the face of the advancing industrial revolution? it probably would have ended on it's own sometime in the 1890 time range i'm guessing.

brody said...

Steve, when you start seeing everything as a class conspiracy, that's not a good sign.

Anonymous said...

Nobel Prize Winner and Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew: "Multiculturalism Will Destroy America"

----------------------------------------

This is odd coming from LKY. Singapore has 4 official languages, more fragmented religious divisions than the US does, and a 75% chinese/13% malay/10% indian ethnic split.

You could argue Singapore is more multikulti than the US.

LKY is right in saying that low-iq mass immigration is detrimental, but his assertion in that quote surely is erroneous considering where he comes from.

Anonymous said...

Oh God, its another one of those "crops are rotting in the field" stories. Rotting! You got that! ROTTING!

You would think millions of Americans were starving to death like the great hunger in Ireland during the 1840's. I never see any empty shelves in my supermarket....

Anonymous said...

"Our dependnece on foreign oil helps Israel's enemies."

While I would love to see an end to immigration and a long process of 'digestion' begin, the fact is the USA gets very, very little of its oil or energy needs from the middle east. It is a huge canard that the USA is dependent on the mideast for its oil.

Anonymous said...

Lee credits the resounding success of the United States with two key factors: a unifying language, English, because of it's ease to learn and demographics.

Does anyone have the cite or know which interview where Lee said this?

haddox said...

Traditional methods for preventing an exodus of agricultural workers have included chaining workers together, and, if they run, hunting them down with packs of baying bloodhounds. Perhaps a revival of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1857 could be slipped into the back pages of the "immigration reform" legislation.
Some laugh out loud funny right there. Good stuff, Steve.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is the cities that have a lot of illegal immirgants are farm towns or like Anaheim do Hotel and Resturant work. I'm thinking that there is actually a surplus of workers in farmwork or Hotel and Resturant work. I bet the real unemployment among the illegals in many places is now 15 percent. Ca Valley has high rates and Anaheim is over 9 percent. If people want to legalize them here's the deal, they have to currently have a job I bet at least 2 to 4 million are currently unemployed among the 11 percent illegals in the US and are living off of employed relatives.

Anonymous said...

What does this mean? If Mexico didn't exist, we would starve?

And what happens if Mexico becomes middle class and no longer has lots of kids? No more illegal workers? So, will we gringos all starve?

Mexicans, please remain poor and keep having kids. Otherwise, we gringos will all starvez.

2/21/13, 4:46 PM
Well, most Mexicans don't do bad by world standards, its the rural areas there verison of South Texas and the Central Valley that comes up here. However, the Mexicans are growing more food and shipping it to us, maybe we should reduce the food we are growing.

Anonymous said...

How the hell did the crops get picked from 1925-1980? I don't peronsally don't remember *any* farm labor shortage in the 1970s.

2/21/13, 4:55 PM
Well, in California legal and illegal Mexicans pick the crops this goes back to the Brancero Program. In other states, whites and blacks still pick it. I was shocked when a friend told me that in Oregon white people still pick fruits and veggies in 1982 or so.

Peter the Shark said...

In the USSR high school and college kids would be sent to the farms every autumn to help bring in the harvest. I kind of like that idea - it would reduce immigration and remind spoiled rich kids what real work is.

Anonymous said...

Medieval Europe solved this particular problem with the institution of serfdom. Basically peasants were tied to their lord's estate as a captive workforce and were frobidden to change occupation or employer. The idea was that the lord was supposed to 'protect' them from violence and act as a patron, and the peasants' tying to the estate was the 'price' of this bargain.
- 21st century Californian farmers won't even do that. What you have is a conveyor-belt typr Ponzi scheme in which a fresh batch of Mexicans is exploited, dumped and moved on to be replaced by an infinite number of fresh Mexicans.
As pure capitalism this cannot be beaten.Costs are minimized to the lowest extent possible, basically, apart from the cents on the dollar wages all externalities are 'socialized' ie dumped on the great mass of US working stiffs to pay. So to all intents and purposes, California growers have got 'free labor' in the same way they have free rainfall, air and insect pollinators. There is a tiny, marginal cost for engaging a mexican's time, but it's no more than he would pay on gas, pesticides or a myriad other sundries. Petty cash, basically, kept in the petty cash tin.
Slavery turbo-charged for the 21st century backed by the inexorable law of Malthus - and masive neighboring income inequality, sure cannot be beaten as a system. No whips, no odium, no rebellions and no puritan hymn singers. Just pure 'hands clean' profit.

By the way, mexicans in the agri-towns of the central valley have the highest unemployment rate going.

elvisd said...

Can we start calling fruit picking "internships"?

Anonymous said...

There are advantages with guest workers if you haven't let in too many illegals in the first place: it's hard for them to 'melt into the crowd'.

I live in a area of Canada that is almost 100% white, yet has a strong agricultural sector inviting in many guest workers. Those (nice) Guatemalan gentlemen, 5'2" and dark-skinned, are about as inconspicuous as aliens from Alpha Centauri.

Anonymous said...

The group was founded in 2002 to address the problem of unpaid wages for low-income workers.

The report, based on a survey of 1,194 workers at randomly selected construction sites in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio, found that:
•U.S.-born construction workers earned an average of $3.12 per hour more than undocumented workers, who reported earning an average of $11.10 per hour.
•73 percent of undocumented workers reported they had not received basic safety training, while40 percent of U.S.-born workers had not received such training.
•29 percent of undocumented workers said they were covered by a workers’ compensation policy, compared to 65 percent of U.S.-born workers.

This has been the biggest growth industry for illegals not farmwork. Here's the stats from Texas.

The study says that 81 percent of the workers surveyed were Hispanic and 73 percent were foreign born.

Construction industry representatives said they couldn’t confirm

Melendwyr said...

English "easy to learn"? Absurd! With its high incidence of irregular verbs, grammatical exceptions, and atrociously inconsistent spelling, English is one of the worst world languages to learn.

Its actual advantages lie in its high tolerance for complex consonantal structure, leading to its being able to produce, borrow, and absorb words from other languages.

Anonymous said...

"How about a new bill?

If you want welfare, you gotta work the fields. " - How about a new bill, you want people to work the fields, you pay them higher wages.

Anonymous said...

you want people to work the fields, you pay them higher wages.

And while we're dreaming, how about no more military actions without a congressional declaration of war? A return to the gold standard too?

Matthew said...

"Traditional methods for preventing an exodus of workers from the agricultural sector have included chaining workers together, and, if they run, hunting them down with packs of baying bloodhounds."

^^^ This is why we read you. ^^^ Well done, sir. Well done, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I do wonder - if the western world does effectively disappear - how long it will be before slavery comes back.

Anonymous said...

"This is odd coming from LKY. Singapore has 4 official languages, more fragmented religious divisions than the US does, and a 75% chinese/13% malay/10% indian ethnic split."

different directions

LKY *inherited* a multi-cultural state and has tried to make it as unified as possible.

The USA started unified (ish) and has deliberately multi-culturalized (aka balkanized) itself.

Anonymous said...

"Steve, when you start seeing everything as a class conspiracy, that's not a good sign."

It's not all a class conspiracy - just some.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Bay Area. No one wants to accept the fact that immigration has always mainly helped but one group of people in this country: employers.
In school we are taught that immigrants were allowed into this country because it was the right thing to do. It's heavily implied--and no information counter to this is implied--that immigration is a total virtue, and scant attention is paid in our textbooks to the resentment and anger that groups of earlier workers justifiably felt when the owners kept them in poverty by importing workers who were effectively scabs--starting with slavery but not ending there. Immigration is the means by which the rich and powerful have controlled a basically freedom-loving nation. Today, they buy the assent of the rest with cheap prices and everyone agrees to cover their eyes to the inevitable--a too-full country whose more recent immigrants despise the older lot, egged on by propaganda from internationalists who tell the poor and the new immigrants that a wish for a stable nation is racist, taking advantage of the white/non-white demographic splits, but not stopping there, of course, if other refinements are needed. The descendants of the "Old" America, if they are not Jew or "of color,' are uniformly vilified in the most damaging way, and we're "relaxing" our mores straight to hell (metaphorically--I'm an atheist myself).

Anonymous said...

Esperanto is said to be the world's easiest language to learn, but how many do?

Anonymous said...

Esperanto is immensely stupid.

Anonymous said...

Any universal language will likely more closely resemble Chinese (pretty much the platonic ideal of an analytic language: has no conjugations, declensions, cases, or plural forms) than Esperanto (with its heavily European agglutinative grammar.)

Flagstone said...

I asked Revilo Oliver his opinion of Esperanto once. It was the only time I ever heard the F word out of him. (Oliver was a Classics professor who read eleven languages and wrote scholarly articles in four.)