FROM Manuel Cunha
Work Permits and the Politics of Immigration It's the summer harvest season in California, and farmers are facing a problem that's all too familiar: undocumented workers are needed to pick the crops. Temporary "guest worker" programs were once used to bring labor from other countries… but not anymore. Now, the workers already live here. Dan Walters is a syndicated columnist for the Sacramento Bee.
Immigration Reform and the Guest Worker Program As Congress debates immigration reform, one possible sticking point is a new look for the guest worker program. Many farmers say the current, H-2A visa system involves so much red tape they have no choice but to hire undocumented labor. At the same time, American workers have won court orders against illegal discrimination and poor working conditions.
Farm Labor, Immigration and Food Security A federal judge gave US employers--including farmers--a temporary reprieve yesterday, saying one immigration enforcement strategy might do irreparable harm to both business and labor. So-called " no match " Social Security letters will not be sent to employers after all, at least for the next few months. But planting, cultivating and harvesting have been seriously disrupted by the crackdown on illegal workers. In Colorado, restrictive new state laws deny all but essential services to undocumented workers, and some of the fields are being worked by prison inmates. In California, some farmers have already moved to Mexico. Why can't legal workers take up the slack? Is it only about cheap labor? What about the reliability and safety of the food supply?
Administration Attempts to Relax Visa Regulations for Farmworkers Yesterday's Los Angeles Times reported that a shortage of farm workers threatens to leave un-harvested fruits and vegetables rotting in fields nationwide. The Departments of Labor , State and Homeland Security say they're trying to help farmers who are threatened with a shortage of workers to harvest crops. It's all about the complex process required for hiring legal workers and the stepped up enforcement that’s cutting supplies of illegal ones.
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?