Immigration Hypocrisy By Florida Governor DeSantis

Arizona and Texas governors Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey have put out a call for help from other states asking them to send “all available law enforcement resources” to the southern border “in defense of our sovereignty”. Several state governments have responded by sending national guards or law enforcement to Texas.

Among the state governments sending help to Texas to quell an “emergency” for political reasons are Arkansas, Florida, Ohio and South Dakota. The governors responding to the so-called emergency are looking at upcoming elections with at least two governors – Florida’s DeSantis and South Dakota’s Noem – using the clarion call to firm up possible presidential runs in 2024.

The problem is not on the political rhetoric about immigration but on who are demanding action on the immigrants coming to work in America. The national debate on immigration is centered, purposely, on the legality of those crossing the border, instead of the reasons behind the immigrants coming to America.

Both parties are guilty of turning the debate into border security instead of the underlining reason – America’s dependence on immigrant labor for its workforce.

Therein lies the hypocrisy.

To better understand the hypocrisy, we just need to look at the use of H-2A visas. The H2-A visa allows employers to bring foreign workers to work in agriculture. The fact that the visa is needed dispels the lie that America’s workforce is willing to do the jobs that the immigrants do.

To qualify for an H2-A visa, the company hiring the immigrant worker must prove that “there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to” work the fields. (U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services, July 2021) In other words, an American isn’t willing to do the job.

Who are the states that are needing the foreign workers?

According to a September 30, 2020, Department of Labor certification report, the top state that uses foreign labor is Florida, the state that Ron DeSantis sent 50 state law enforcement officers from to Texas.

Florida is not only the top user of foreign labor for its labor force but its use of foreign workers surpasses Georgia by about 12,000 immigrant workers. In FY2020, Florida had 39,064 certified foreign laborers to Georgia’s 27,614. [1]

According to the 2020 report, the top occupations filled by the foreign workforce are farmworkers. [1]

The largest user of foreign labor is North Carolina Growers Association which has 10,650 immigrants working for them under the foreign worker visa program.

To have a proper debate on immigrants it is important to acknowledge that the immigrant labor force is essential to America’s bottom line. Ignoring this reality allows individuals like Ron DeSantis to be anti-immigrant while his state depends on them to stay economically viable.

Footnote:

  1. Office of Foreign Labor Certification, H2-A Temporary Agricultural Program, Fiscal Year FY2020 Report, U.S. Department of Labor.

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