They are stealing our jobs or they keep wages low, or better yet, U.S. workers are willing to do the work are the rallying points behind keeping Mexican workers out of the country. The problem is that none of those arguments are true, but that does not stop anti-immigrants from uttering them, or demonizing Mexican workers. The Republicans, who have been better for immigrants, allow their ultra-right brethren to argue for closed borders and the Democrats, although they pretend that they are for immigrants’ rights, secretly lobby to keep them out on behest of their labor union base. In the end, the Mexican immigrants, toiling in the fields to keep food on American tables, are demonized and persecuted.
I’d be ok with the argument that the country would be better off without Mexican immigrants. I may not agree with it, but I have no way to change it legislatively. What infuriates me is the hypocrisy of the rhetoric of scapegoating Mexican immigrants.
Take for examples, Republican Arkansas Sen. John Boozman.
Boozman’s office issued a statement on July 6, 2016 arguing that the government should strengthen laws protecting citizens from undocumented immigrants. Boozman blamed the Democrats for their lack of support to strengthen immigration laws for sanctuary cities and other immigration measures.
On his website, under “Immigration Reform & Border Security”, Boozman states:
“While national security must be the top priority when reforming our immigration system, the economic security of American citizens must also be protected. That is why I support efforts to hold employers accountable to ensure they are hiring legal workers and oppose efforts to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants.”
John Boozman voted “yes” on HR6061 on September 14, 2006 to build a fence on the U.S.-México border. Boozman also voted on a legislative measure to prevent the U.S. federal government from notifying the Mexican government about the activities of the vigilante anti-immigrant group, the Minuteman Project. The Border Patrol had routinely notified the Mexican government about the location of Minuteman Project members along the border. Boozman has argued for a “sealed border” between México and the United States and is a staunch supporter of no amnesty for undocumented immigrants and making English the official language of the nation. Boozman also signed HR1868, seeking to end birthright citizenship.
Clearly, John Boozman is anti-immigrant. As an elected legislator, Boozman has the right to seek anti-immigrant legislation. Many of you would applaud him for this.
Except, that when it comes to helping his friend with Mexican immigrant labor, John Boozman exposes both his hypocrisy and his duplicity.
Yesterday, The Daily Caller published “EXCLUSIVE: Emails Reveal GOP Senator Lobbied For Mexican Foreign Workers On Behalf Of Friend”, by Alex Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer’s article details how Rebecca Caldwell, a Boozman staffer, emailed the U.S. consulate in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon “to ask for 80 workers needed for a farm in Arkansas.” According to The Daily Caller, Gillam Farms of Arkansas needed Mexican workers urgently. This was on May 28, 2015. Since then, Boozman has been very vocal about supporting Donald Trump’s travel ban and tighter immigration measures.
The Daily Caller goes on to explain how in 2015, the owner of Gillam Farms said his farm would “die” if not enough immigrant workers could be brought in to help the farm. Jeremy Gillam referred to the Mexican laborers as “professionals” and as “phenomenal at what they produce.”
Boozman’s effort to seek foreign workers for his friend’s farm exposes not only the duplicity of the immigration rhetoric, but also the lack of knowledge about the immigration process that most anti-immigrant proponents demand immigrants immigrate “the right way.” The email seeking the workers from Boozman, referred to an I-129 immigration petition. The I-129 is for making changes to a temporary work visa, such as the H2-A visa that Mexican workers would need to legally work in the farm. In essence, Boozman was asking the Consulate to issue a document that does not convey any legal status on the holder on its own. The H-2A visa would allow the Mexican worker to enter the country for a specific set of time to work on a specific agricultural location. For example, Gillam Farms would request that H2-A visas be made available to foreign workers. The foreign workers apply for the job and the corresponding visa. If approved and hired, they would be issued a H-2A with specific limits on time and location for work. The I-129 would only enter the equation if the worker needed to make changes, such as extending the work period or delaying the start of the harvest, to an existing H2-A visa holder. Only the H2-A visa conveys the authority to enter the country and work in the farm.
Although the lack of knowledge bothers me, it is the hypocrisy of seeking Mexican workers for a friend’s farm that drives me crazy. It starts with the notion that there are U.S. workers willing to do the job and continues to the notion that Mexican agricultural workers should come to work “the right way”.
John Boozman demands stronger border security and an English-only country, but has no problem using Mexican workers for make the country better. It is hypocrisy at its worst. Just like Donald Trump demanding that U.S. companies hire U.S workers and build widgets in the country, while Trump uses foreign workers at his resorts and manufactures his widgets in China.
It’s the hypocrisy that infuriates me!