June 23, 2014

Of “blue card” amnesty for the Ag masters, lobbyist Bryan Tolar and those pesky and elusive facts on “facts”

Posted by D.A. King at 12:07 pm - Email the author   Print This Post Print This Post  

Note: As I write, it occurs to me that maybe there should be some kind of local or state opinion column – maybe in a ‘compelling’ newspaper – that would have curious and neutral journalists who keep watch over powerful people who invent their own facts in working toward a political goal…

Ag lobbyist Bryan Tolar outside of formerly smoke-filled rooms and in the AJC:

A fixture in the Georgia state Capitol, most Georgians have never heard of Bryan Tolar, but they should pay attention to him and his willingness to hide the truth on the current push for another amnesty for illegal aliens.

Tolar, (for Twitter users, @BTolar) is not just another integrity-challenged lobbyist. He is also president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council , which is the immensely powerful advocate for the growers in the state. We have been following his antics for years.

Neither is it Tolar’s first anti-enforcement expedition in the AJC. Here is a 2011 guest column desperately pleading with Georgia state legislators to kill the 2011 E-Verify section of Georgia’s illegal immigration law that year. In it he tells us that pay and benefits totaling $14.00 and hour is too much for the Ag masters to pay farm workers. At least he put a number on it.

Last week, Tolar was able to get a plea for readers to contact their congressmen (“Farm labor shortage costly to state”) urging passage of “immigration reform” in the June 18 edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He offered the usual goop about the shortage of farm labor, the concept that when it comes to workers wages, “money is not the issue” and the need for legalization – again – of illegal alien farm workers.

In his guest column, Tolar is selling the 2013 U.S. Senate amnesty bill and the component in it written by the Ag lobby to create a “guest worker” program for the illegal farm workers his industry hires and employs. The scheme is called a “Blue Card” program.

Tolar didn’t disappoint those of us who know his work. But we have to give him credit. He did mention that there already exists a federal visa – H2A – for the Ag industry to bring in legal farm workers. But he overlooked telling readers that the H2A visa has no limit to the number of workers who can be imported. Or that agriculture is the only industry in the nation with its own un-capped visa process for foreign workers.

Or that according to CNBC net cash farm income rose from the record high in 2010 of $99.4 billion to a then record high of $134.7 billion. Only 35.5 percent profit growth! Not bad for a struggling industry, eh? (taken from CNBC “Phony Farm Labor Shortage: We Need to Talk About It” CNBC, September 2012.)

But what he did write on the Blue Card was worth noting so that you can decide if anything this character says in the future is worthy of acceptance?

From Tolar’s AJC column:

“Recent federal legislative proposals would have met the labor needs of farmers through a “blue card” proposal. The program would not allow for amnesty; it would only allow foreign farm workers to apply for the card if they pay a fine, undergo background checks and prove they have farm work experience. A blue card would certainly not grant citizenship. It would only allow the applicant to legally remain in the country to do farm work for a limited time.”

Pro-enforcement Americans who haven’t read the Blue Card proposal in the senate bill should have access to some facts on this sales pitch. And should remember the old Latin warning: “Caveat Emptor.”

• “Amnesty” is any process that allows any illegal alien to shed that illegal status and/or remain in these United States. The Blue Card scam is amnesty. The fine prescribed in the senate amnesty bill? It’s $400.00. MORE HERE.

* “A blue card would certainly not grant citizenship.” Um, no, that is more goop. A blue card grants “Lawful Permanent Residence” – known as a green card. It is the green card status that allows the lucky former illegal alien to then obtain U.S. citizenship. Odd that Ag lobbyist Bryan Tolar didn’t make that clear, huh?

HOT PANTS! Tolar then gets deep in the weeds on the blue card with “It would only allow the applicant to legally remain in the country to do farm work for a limited time.” Complete, indefensible nonsense. Having obtained a blue card, the formerly illegal alien recipient is now on his way to a green card (lawful permanent status) and then to the jackpot: U.S. citizenship. And the ability to vote. “Limited time” indeed.

See what we mean about Bryan Tolar? The section of the 2013 Senate amnesty bill (s744) that deals with what becomes of blue card holder is section # 2212. The first sentence explains that the holder can access permanent legal residence. The first sentence! That section reproduced HERE.

We are grateful to the AJC letters editor for the space involved in running my June 20, 2014 letter exposing Tolar and the blue card scheme, which I paste below.

Farm column skirts immigration reality

The “Blue Card” amnesty program for illegal alien farm workers that Big Agriculture lobbyist Bryan Tolar is pushing (“Farm labor shortage costly to state,” Opinion, June 18) would eventually make it easier for beneficiaries to move one step closer to obtaining American citizenship — the same end result as the failed 1986 amnesty.

Work requirements include seven years of agricultural employment, rather like 21st century indentured servitude under the Ag bosses for whom Tolar works. After that term, lessons learned from the Ag amnesty of 1986 show us that the former illegals, now on a path to U.S. citizenship, migrate to work in an air-conditioned warehouse and leave the miserable field work — and the grower’s preset wages — to the next wave of black-market labor. Blaming a 2011 worker shortage for profit losses in his sales pitch, Tolar omitted any mention of the damaging drought that produced a crop shortage that year.

It is clear the agriculture masters are unwilling to pay wages for which Americans will work. Updating and streamlining the existing H2A agriculture visa — along with real immigration and employment enforcement, so that the Ag industry would be forced to use genuinely temporary, legal and protected foreign workers — is the solution the powerful agriculture lobby works to ensure never happens. So far, they have nothing to worry about on that one.

D.A. KING, MARIETTA