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.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?