Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    9,603

    WI-Dairy farmers demand immigration reform

    Dairy farmers demand immigration reform
    By Manuel Quinones March 23, 2010

    WASHINGTON -- A newspaper cartoon above lobbyist Craig Regelbrugge's desk depicts farm workers harvesting lettuce. Two guys wearing American flags on their shirts shout, "Hey, Pedro! Go back to Mexico! But first, can you cut my yard and clean my swimming pool?"


    Regelbrugge has spent much of the last decade lobbying for an overhaul of America's immigration laws. The cartoon illustrates the contradictory and often angry rhetoric he's up against.

    As co-chairman of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, Regelbrugge is a champion for Wisconsin dairy operators who say they need immigrant workers to stay afloat -- even during a recession. He recently spoke in Madison to a group of Wisconsin farmers who told him they want action from their Washington representatives.

    "The level of anxiety in the industry there and elsewhere is as high as I have seen it in my years working on this issue," Regelbrugge said.
    Dairy farmers across Wisconsin say they want access to workers without getting into legal trouble. Many say they would go out of business without immigrant labor, and consumers likely would end up paying more for milk.
    Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill are running away from the issue, however. They worry tackling immigration could hurt them at the ballot box this November, and they appear to lack the wherewithal to focus on much besides the ailing economy, joblessness and health care reform.
    Meanwhile, Wisconsin dairy producers John Rosenow and Loren Wolfe said they've had trouble finding enough locals willing to get dirty and work the long hours it takes to run their operation near Cochrane.
    "We need (immigrants) to milk cows or we'd barely be in business," Wolfe said.

    Big contributions

    Immigrants now make up about 40 percent of the state's dairy labor force, up from 5 percent a decade ago, according to a 2009 study by the UW-Madison Program on Agricultural Technology Studies. Many of the workers are in the United States illegally.
    The last time Congress passed major immigration reform legislation was in 1986. It was supposed to fix the nation's illegal immigration problem by granting amnesty to millions of people and beefing up enforcement. However, the effort failed to properly control the future flow of immigrants and the demand for immigrant workers.

    President George W. Bush gave it another try during his second term in office. It ended in a crushing defeat in the Senate in 2007.

    Bush's plan included a path to legalization and measures to strengthen border security and create a temporary guest-worker program. Opponents called it unacceptable amnesty. Many also doubted the government's ability to fulfill the lofty promise of finally fixing the illegal immigration problem.

    U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, was one of the Republicans blasting Bush for his immigration proposal.
    "The American public is opposed to granting amnesty to illegal immigrants," Sensenbrenner said.

    Another Wisconsin Republican, U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri of Fond du Lac, considers himself a champion of the dairy industry. He cringed, though, when asked about immigration reform and its impact on Wisconsin dairy producers. Petri didn't want to go into detail but said he supports making sure producers have the workers they need while being tough on illegal immigration.

    Other members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation wouldn't even say that much. U.S. Reps. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, and Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, as well as U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., all avoided answering questions when asked face-to-face about immigration reform. Kohl did respond to questions left with his Senate office.

    "I understand there can be some apprehension about foreign workers and guest worker programs, especially as we face job losses and high unemployment figures in the United States," Kohl wrote. "But it is important to balance the need to provide farmers with access to the workers they need, with the need to protect American jobs."
    U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., sits with Kohl on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration issues. He called congressional inaction on immigration "irresponsible."

    How to help

    Dairy producers say Congress can help by at least passing the so-called AgJobs bill, legislation that would overhaul the agricultural foreign worker program and create a path to legalization for certain farm workers who already are here.


    Jaime Castaneda with the National Milk Producers Federation said dairy farmers currently are worse off than other agricultural producers because they can't take advantage of the existing guest-worker program, which only covers temporary and seasonal workers. Milk production requires a year-round work force.


    "Dairy farmers cannot have access to any visa system to bring foreign labor," Castaneda said. "Dairy farmers have access to nothing."
    Several Wisconsin lawmakers have signed on to the AgJobs legislation in the House and Senate, including Kohl, Feingold, Kagen, Petri, Ryan and Kind, but progress on the measure has stalled.

    In December, several dozen Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, introduced a so-called comprehensive immigration reform package. The proposal includes a path to legalization for many illegal immigrants and the provisions for immigrant workers contained in the AgJobs legislation. Some Republicans have labeled the bill dead on arrival.
    "Democratic leaders are weighing how many votes they win by doing immigration reform and how many votes they lose by doing immigration reform," said Marc Rosenblum, a senior policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.

    Said Regelbrugge: "People came here, we needed their labor, and we didn't provide the legal means to do it."
    The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) developed this report in collaboration with the nonprofit Capitol News Connection in Washington, D.C. Manuel Quinones, who produced this report, is a reporter for Capitol News Connection. WCIJ collaborates with its partners -- Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and the UW-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication -- and other news media.


    http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com/art ... ocated=rss
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at http://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  2. #2
    Senior Member ReggieMay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    5,527
    Wisconsin dairy farmers can kiss my cute patoot. What they want is low wage slaves that will work overtime for less than minimum wage. They offer no benefits and expect the taxpaying public to pick up costs for health care and education for their children. There are already programs in place to obtain foreign workers through legal channels rather than hiring anyone who shows up at the front gate. I suggest they follow the law. BTW, where I vacation in northern Wisconsin, many in the tourist industry take advantage of government programs to hire Polish young people who are anxious to work and who already speak English.
    "A Nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves" -Edward R. Murrow

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member GaPatriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    879
    How did we survive through Eisenhower's policies? I clearly remember a milkman, who actually was a citizen, delivering milk to the box on my doorstep without illegal labor.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ReggieMay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    5,527
    Quote Originally Posted by GaPatriot
    How did we survive through Eisenhower's policies? I clearly remember a milkman, who actually was a citizen, delivering milk to the box on my doorstep without illegal labor.
    That brings back memories! My uncle was one of those milkmen. And he supported a wife and two sons on his pay.
    "A Nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves" -Edward R. Murrow

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  5. #5
    Senior Member BetsyRoss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    5,262
    I knew a Wisconsin kid who helped pay for his college by doing temporary farm labor. Wonder if those opportunities are still available for American kids?
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  6. #6
    Senior Member ReggieMay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    5,527
    Quote Originally Posted by BetsyRoss
    I knew a Wisconsin kid who helped pay for his college by doing temporary farm labor. Wonder if those opportunities are still available for American kids?
    The jobs are available for less than minimum wage and no benefits is my guess. Our local McDonald's requires American kids to be bilingual, but the entire kitchen staff speaks only Spanish.
    "A Nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves" -Edward R. Murrow

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •