There is a point in anyone’s existence where your biggest strengths are made into weaknesses or when something that is supposedly really good about you becomes your undoing. For me, my husband will tell you; it’s my ability to see the good in people and constantly give them the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, while it leads me to provide usually good things like mercy, forgiveness, and grace, it also offers up situations in which I get walked all over and taken advantage of.
And just like me, the United States Congress has a similar attribute that is both very good and very bad: bipartisanship.
As we all know, when the two major parties of our government come together and work towards a common goal, it can be a beautiful and liberating thing. It also tends to give our nation hope that our differences might not be so drastic after all.
However, when legislation or an idea is put forward that is not genuinely good for the people of America, and both parties agree to it, it suddenly, like my tender-heartedness, becomes a massively horrendous thing, both for itself and the nation as a whole.
A recent example of this is legislation recently proposed by Florida Republican Scott Franklin and California Democrat Salud Carbajal. Together, they drafted a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh asked that a plan to increase fees paid by American farmers for their foreign workers be nixed.
Now, you might think this is a rather good thing at the outset. I mean, increasing fees and taxes on American workers and farmers is the last thing we want to do in a time of both economy and supply chain crises, right?
However, the type of fee that could be nixed is troubling.
As I mentioned, American farmers are required to pay a fee each year to import workers from other nations. Currently, that fee is $190 per every worker operating on an H-2A visa, which covers temporary agricultural workers.
Such fees are imposed to encourage farmers to hire American workers first, for which no fee is paid. And then, and only if there are no U.S. workers ‘who are able, willing, qualified and available to do the temporary work,” can these farms hire foreign laborers.
Thanks to a regulatory rule change proposed in December, an increase in these fees to $310 per worker would work to encourage that even more.
However, Franklin and Carbajal aren’t too keen on the fee increase.
According to their letter, the H-2A visa program is “a crucial tool for U.S. employers to sponsor foreign laborers to work in the U.S. agricultural industry,” particularly if there are no eligible U.S. workers to hire instead.
And this is true to some degree.
However, without fees that encourage these farmers to look first at American workers, we are only feeding a massive immigration problem.
According to Breitbart, the number of H-2A visas given out each year in the U.S. has grown exponentially over the last 25 years. In 1997, it was noted that just 16,000 workers resided in the U.S. on H-2A visas. Last year, over 258,000 foreign workers held that type of visa.
It’s also important to note that these visas are good for up to three years and also include giving out H-4 visas to their family members so they can come to live here in the U.S. too. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, when those visas expire, how many of those migrant workers do you think go through the proper channels to get it reinstated? Not nearly enough. Instead, they end up being illegal immigrants, finding work with employers who don’t really care about their visa status so that they won’t have to pay what they would for an American worker.
And the immigration problem in the U.S. grows…
But apparently, neither Franklin nor Carbajal are worried about that. Instead, they are far more interested in the campaign funds that agricultural groups in their home states donate to them.
Bipartisanship doesn’t look so good now, does it?