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GOP, Led by Rep. Lamar Smith, To American Agriculture: Drop Dead

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Agriculture workersAs the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), is gearing up to introduce legislation to make the flawed E-Verify program a mandatory cornerstone of his overall mass-deportation goal. He’d force all businesses and workers to use this mandatory system. Aside from its flaws, E-Verify is also very controversial. In fact, the libertarian Cato Institute calls E-Verify “a cardless national ID.”  

Rep. Smith told Congressional Quarterly (subscription required) that he plans to introduce the legislation in the near future and predicted that E-Verify “will pass the House and the Senate fairly easily.”  (Smith also fancies himself an expert on Latino politics, so we’re not all that confident in his prognostications.)

The Associated Press highlights what’s at stake in the congressional battle ahead. The first line reads: 

The agriculture industry fears a disaster is on the horizon if the one bit of new immigration policy that Congress seems to agree on becomes law.

Yes, thanks to Rep. Smith, “The agriculture industry fears a disaster.” 

Rep. Smith, joined by Reps. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) and Steve King (R-IA) (among others) is committed to passing the disastrous legislation. And these “Three Amigos” are undaunted by the fears that those in the Agriculture Industry have about the “disaster” that could befall them.

America’s agriculture industry relies heavily on undocumented workers.  Up to 75 percent of the U.S. agricultural labor force is comprised of unauthorized workers. In addition, according to the Department of Agriculture, for every on-farm job there are about 3.1 “upstream” and “downstream” jobs.  That means that deporting an illegal farm worker and sending production overseas eliminates other jobs currently held by Americans.