Special interest groups, many of which are donors to Republican and Democrat lawmakers, say the GOP must quickly throw support behind an amnesty for illegal alien farmworkers so the legislation can be rushed through the lame-duck Congress.
On Tuesday, a number of special interest groups — whose political action committees (PACs) have been frequent donors to Republican and Democrat lawmakers — held a press conference to call on House and Senate Republicans to join Democrats in a bid to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would give amnesty to 2.1 million illegal aliens working on U.S. farms.
“It is now or never when it comes to passing an [agriculture] labor reform bill,” an executive with the National Council of Farmer Co-op said.
The special interest groups at the press conference included the American Business Immigration Council, the U.S. Apple Association, AmericanHort, and the National Council of Farm Co-ops, along with Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the amnesty’s sponsors.
Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) are among the House Republicans co-sponsoring the farmworker amnesty. Each has received donations from one or more of the groups, campaign finance records show.
Meanwhile, the American Business Immigration Council represents corporations like Crate & Barrel, the Loews Corporation, CC Industries, Tyson Foods, the Starbucks Corporation, and the Aspen Skiing Company, among others.
Though proponents of the farmworker amnesty claim the legislation is necessary to fill unfilled U.S. agriculture jobs, research has shown that there are no jobs Americans will not do. While illegal aliens and legal immigrants make up a sizeable portion of the farm workforce in the U.S., agriculture employees make up less than one percent of the entire American workforce.
Likewise, machines and robots already can do much of the work on U.S. farms.