34 House Republicans cross the aisle to support pathway to legal status for immigrant farmers

While the nation was distracted with impeachment, Democrats smuggled an amnesty bill through the House — and some Republicans helped.

The innocuously named Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed Wednesday with 34 Republican lawmakers joining the Democrats in a 260–165 vote, according to Breitbart. The bill provides a pathway to legal status for over one million illegal immigrants in the farming industry, the outlet notes.

But while the bill may have passed thanks to bipartisan efforts, not everyone is pleased with it. Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said it represents a “slap in the face” to Americans, many of whom are prioritizing immigration reform as they look to 2020.

“While Congress continues to do nothing to secure our borders, passing a bill that rewards both illegal aliens and their employers, and calling it ‘modernization,’ is a slap in the face to the plurality of Americans who consider immigration to be the nation’s most pressing domestic issue,” he said.

Dems sneak amnesty bill through

The bill received muted press coverage amid the impeachment madness that has been consuming Washington. Despite the bitter partisan clashes at the Capitol, lawmakers from both parties agreed Wednesday to sell out American workers in the name of “modernizing” the farming industry.

While the majority of the House’s Republicans voted against the bill, 34 voted with Democrats, including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a stalwart defender of President Donald Trump, and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who has been called a “rising star” for landing impressive soundbites in the impeachment hearings. Will Hurd (R-TX), a retiring anti-Trump Republican, and Peter King (R-NY), another retiring moderate, joined them, along with 30 other members of the GOP.

The bill “streamlines” the H2-A visa process for temporary farm labor and allows illegal workers and their families to get green cards if they have lived and worked a certain time in the United States, a scheme that immigration hawks have compared to indentured servitude, Fox News reported.

Immigrants who have worked a mere six months can obtain a renewable “Certified Agricultural Worker” status, and for the price of a $1,000 fine and up to eight years of hard labor they can get green cards. Once they get green cards, they become free laborers.

“The only thing worse than another large-scale amnesty is one that then forces people to continue to toil for poor wages and under poor working conditions for the same unscrupulous employers who hired them illegally in the first place,” Stein said.

Republicans: “This is not amnesty”

Advocates hailed the bill as a necessary reform to “stabilize” an illegal workforce that does jobs Americans “won’t do.” Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa explained the rationale behind it by suggesting that American citizens are too lazy and would rather play Xbox than fill the jobs illegal immigrants are currently working.

“This is not amnesty,” LaMalfa said.

But immigration restrictionists have warned of a repeat of rampant fraud that resulted from the farmworkers’ portion of Ronald Reagan’s 1986 mass amnesty, which allowed hundreds of thousands of ineligible illegal workers to obtain legal status, according to National Review.

Besides granting legal status to illegal immigrants, the bill is a giveaway to farming employers in search of cheap labor to exploit. The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Zoe Lofgren (CA), said the bill was needed to protect illegal workers “living in fear and in some cases being arrested and deported” so they “can do the work we need them to do and their employers need them to do.”

But the bill may fail in the Republican-controlled Senate, especially if President Trump signals he will veto.

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