According to Capitol Hill sources, California Senator Dianne Feinstein will soon once again introduce an Ag Jobs bill. Feinstein has a decade-long record of failure on these bills. In fact, Feinstein has been unable to bring any of her legislation to the floor for a vote. Undaunted by the prospect of an eleventh year of defeat, Feinstein calls this year’s version “emergency legislation”. With Feinstein, the ag industry is always in an “emergency”.
Feinstein did, however, announce one new twist. In her statement, Feinstein said that, if approved, her bill, although it does not lead to citizenship:
”… will provide is a blue card to an agricultural worker who has met certain criteria, to be able to remain in the country with his family, provided that individual works agriculture a certain number of days a year.”
The immigration enthusiasts are engaged in a battle of clashing colors. Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate, proposes a red card. Like Feinstein’s blue visa, the red card wouldn’t lead to citizenship. But it would, as Gingrich explained, “…bring them in from illegality…” after they “pay a penalty.” [Newt Gingrich Talks Arizona Immigration, by Steve Kuzj, ABC15.com, October 20, 2011]
Has everyone gone mad? The blue and the red would be great news for the growers; the cards would ensure a steady flow of willing cheap labor. But as a Californian, I know that there’s no shortage of crops —nothing is rotting unless it’s in someone’s back yard. I mail order pecans from Georgia; I asked my supplier if there were an ag crisis down south. He didn’t know what I was talking about.
Really, what does Feinstein know about crops? She lives in a $16.5 million mansion in San Francisco’s exclusive Pacific Heights section and probably has a personal shopper. Feinstein may not have toured a field in years. Whether she has or not isn’t as significant as her source of information: the growers and their lobbyists who support Feinstein’s campaigns.
For battle scarred immigration reform veterans, we’re used to this type of scare talk; it’s par for the course. At some point, you’d think gullible reporters would catch on to the duplicity. Maybe next year!