U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Help Wanted: Americans Needed For Farm Labor

We've always thought that those who seriously decry immigrants in our midst should really try to spend a day without a Mexican: No eating out, no getting your car washed, no having your lawn (or nails) maintained, and forget about getting any contract work done around the house. Put your money where your mouth is.

Apparently, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis got the memo, because she just released one of her own that basically says farms must try to hire Americans before requesting H-2A visas for immigrant laborers. In other words, the Los Angeles County native is calling the bluff of all those anti-immigrant folks out there: Just try to find Americans to pick lettuce, grapes and tomatoes.

The rule reverses the Bush administration's pro-agribusiness policy of looking the other way and unleashing plenty of H-2A visas. Last year the Department of Labor approved 86,014 such visas.

"This new rule will make it possible for all workers who are working hard on American soil to receive fair pay while at the same time expand opportunities for U.S. workers," Solis stated. "The actions that we have taken through this rule-making also will enable us to detect and remedy different forms of worker violations."

Somehow we don't see Americans lining up for back-breaking work under the beating spring sun of the Central Valley. But at least Solis is making it possible for those who think immigrants are taking American jobs to put up or shut up.


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