Jan 09

Machines Can Harvest Those Apples

Alex Nowrasteh of the libertarian Cato Institute asked in a recent article “Who Will Pick Our Apples.” The gist of the article was that Americans, according apple producers, won’t pick apples, so therefore we must have a presumably unending flow of foreigners to come here and do the work.

Fact Check: The labor shortages may be real, or they may not be. David North, a former assistant Secretary of Labor, cautions that claims of “labor shortages” resulting in “crops rotting in the fields” can’t always be taken at face value. Usually these are claims of growers unverified by outside sources. Sometimes the reality is much more complex. Source: Caution: Watch for Farmers’ Fibs on “Labor Shortages” www.cis.org 1/12

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that we truly don’t have enough apple pickers. Does this mean that we will never have any alternative to admitting a generally low-paid foreign workforce? Not really. Suppose someone in the 19th century had asked, “Who will pick our cotton, if we don’t have slaves or free workers whose living standards aren’t much better than those of slaves?

The answer is that we developed technology to make masses of field workers unnecessary to bring in cotton crops. The question now to ask is: why can’t we develop technology to harvest all or most of our other crops as well? As we progress into the 21st century, it seems strange to tie ourselves to a pre-technological economy of muscle, toil and sweat.

The fact of the matter is that apple harvesting technology is rapidly developing. In Washington state, where Nowrasteh cited the labor shortage, The Wenatchee Times reported (12/12/09) that “Apple harvest is moving ever closer to looking like corn, wheat and potatoes with machines starting to play bigger roles.”

One problem still to be resolved completely is developing technology that can pick apples, without bruising them, as well as the human hand. But this is now on the horizon. As noted by the Associated Press (9/6/07) “[N]ew pickers rely on advances in computing power and hydraulics that can make robotic limbs and digits operate with near-human sensitivity. Modern imaging technology also enables the machines to recognize and sort fruits of varying qualities.”

Said Derek Morikawa, who has worked with the Washington State Apple Commission to develop a fruit picker, “The technology is maturing just at the right time to allow us to do this kind of work economically.” Another economic gain is eliminating the cost to taxpayers of social services provided to foreign workers and their families. 

A key factor holding back the advance of agricultural mechanization, observes Philip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California (Davis), is “the ready availability of farm workers” at low wages. Source: www.cis.org, Backgrounder, November 2007. Consequently, slowing the flow of legal and illegal farm workers would assist mechanization.

This in the long-run would be in the interest of U.S. farmers who produce apples and other crops. Increasingly, they will have to face competition from foreign producers who have cheap labor at home, or those who are mechanizing themselves.

Technological advance has always been the American way. We lose if we stay dependent on a mode of production more appropriate to the 19th century than the 21st.     

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/machines-can-harvest-those-apples/

Jan 08

Kansas Will Consider Immigration Bills

Kansas will probably consider at least four bills during its upcoming session to crack down on illegal immigration. One of the bills would require local and state agencies, and possibly private businesses as well, to check the legal status of employees through an electronic system. Another would permit police to check the immigration status of people under certain conditions.

Read more at the The Wichita Eagle.  

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/kansas-will-consider-immigration-bills/

Jan 08

Chicago Mayor Wants Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is supporting state legislation that would allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. The bill passed the state Senate last month and will be considered in the House. Emanuel says the measure is necessary to uphold immigrants’ rights.

Read more at WLS News.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/chicago-mayor-wants-drivers-licenses-for-illegal-aliens/

Jan 07

Iowa Rep. Seeks End to ‘Anchor Baby’ Illegal Immigration

U.S. Rep. Steve King, a Republican who represents Iowa’s new 4th District in northwest Iowa, has begun 113th Congress by proposing federal legislation to halt immigrant “anchor babies” from automatically becoming United States citizens simply because their mothers give birth in this nation’s hospitals.

The term “anchor babies” is considered derogatory by immigration activists, while critics of federal immigration policies contend such children are routinely born here with the goal of improving the chances of the mother and other relatives of eventually securing citizenship.

Read more at the Des Moines Register here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/iowa-rep-seeks-end-to-anchor-baby-illegal-immigration/

Jan 07

Census Bureau May Alter ‘Hispanic’ Category on Questionnaire

Hispanics may become a race of their own in the U.S. Census — a major change that some Latino advocacy groups are opposing.

Currently, the Census considers Hispanic not a race but an ethnic background. Hispanics can be of any race, and Hispanic origin is asked on Census forms in a question separate from the one about race.

Now, the Census is considering eliminating  the Hispanic origin question and combining it with the race question in a “race or origin” category.

The change would be the biggest adjustment to Census questions about race since the 2000 Census, when people for the first time were allowed to check more than one race — a nod to the nation’s growing multiracial population.

Read more at USAToday.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/census-bureau-may-alter-hispanic-category-on-questionnaire/

Jan 07

Court Says Injured Illegal Alien Entitled to Workers’ Compensation

David Gutierrez was left physically unable to work after his foot was run over by a forklift on the job at Omaha’s Quality Pork International packing house in August 2008.

Trouble is, he was not able, legally, to hold a job at the meat plant. Gutierrez was the false name assumed by illegal immigrant Ricardo Moyera when he used purchased documents to land the job in March 2007.

In a case that went to the Nebraska Supreme Court, Moyera’s employers argued that they should not have to pay an estimated $2 million over the rest of the worker’s life to cover his lost wages and medical costs.

On Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Moyera, despite being an illegal immigrant from Mexico, is entitled to workers’ compensation payments through his employer for his on-the-job injury.

It was the first time the high court has held that illegal immigrants are protected by state workers’ compensation laws. The decision adopted and expanded a similar ruling made by the midlevel Nebraska Court of Appeals in 2009.

Read more at Omaha.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/court-says-injured-illegal-alien-entitled-to-workers-compensation/

Jan 04

Report: Accused Illegal Alien Child Molester May Go Free in Chicago

Front Page Magazine has been able to confirm that an individual recently arrested for the sexual assault of a three year old near Chicago, Illinois is here illegally, and confusion between Cook County officials and officials from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) means that all that’s standing in the way of freedom for this sexual predator is a Cook County judge. Cook County judges have been the subject of numerous investigations for corruption, most famously Operation Greylord which connected dozens of Cook County judges to bribe payments from Mafia figures.

The individual’s name is Armando Serafin, and he’s 34 from Chicago Heights, Illinois, a suburb about forty miles South of Chicago. He’s been in custody in Cook County Jail since November 16, 2012, suspected of molesting a three-year-old girl. His current bond is $1 million.

Read more at Frontpage.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/report-accused-illegal-alien-child-molester-may-go-free-in-chicago/

Jan 04

GOP Tax Activist Fights Restrictions on Mass Immigration

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is coming to Kansas at the behest of the
Kansas Chamber of Commerce to oppose “restrictionist” policies on immigration
reform.

“We are bringing Mr. Norquist to Kansas so legislators can hear
what real immigration reform should look like,” said Mike O’Neal, president and
chief executive officer of the Kansas Chamber.

“Each year, the business
coalition has been forced to oppose harmful, anti-business legislation pushed as
the only solution to this country’s and Kansas’ immigration woes. Mr. Norquist’s
insight will give lawmakers a fresh perspective into what direction this country
should head as it searches for a solution to the broken and inefficient
immigration system,” O’Neal added.

Norquist, who is better known
nationally as the president of Americans for Tax Reform, will speak at a
breakfast for legislators at 8 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Maner Conference Center
Shawnee Ballroom in Topeka.

Read more at the Kansas City Kansan.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/gop-tax-activist-fights-restrictions-on-mass-immigration/

Jan 04

Michigan Adopts Citizenship Verification for Voters

Michigan’s Governor Rick Synder has signed a bill into law that will require voters to sign a statement to verify they are U.S. citizens.

The bill has now become law and will require Michigan voters to sign an “affirmative” statement confirming they are citizens.  Voters must also provide their address and date of birth on the statement, before getting a voting ballot.  In addition the Republican sponsored bill will also require new voters to show a photo ID when registering to vote.

The Michigan House and Senate approved the measure during the lame duck session on the last voting day of the state Legislature.  The vote for the new citizenship affirmation bill came mostly along party lines.  Republicans control the state’s Legislature.

Read more here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/michigan-adopts-citizenship-verification-for-voters/

Jan 04

Obama May Push Amnesty This Month

An Obama Administration official says that President Obama will begin his push for amnesty legislation this month. Observers say, however, that it might take time to draft the legislation and bring it up for a vote. Some believe that this might take until June.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.aicfoundation.com/obama-may-push-amnesty-this-month/