Friday’s news brought a story about Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner, Tyler Harper, urging the state’s congressional delegation to push for stopping a scheduled pay increase for the farmworkers who are working here on completely legal, temporary visas. He says a pay increase will hurt both farmers and consumers. It won’t.
Yes, it’s true that agriculture is Georgia’s biggest industry. Yes, it’s true that growers produce billions in revenue in the state. It is also true that agriculture is the only industry in the U.S. that has its own visa system that does not have a ceiling on how many workers can be brought in to the country – it’s known as the H-2A visa. Repeat, no limit, no ceiling no maximum.
The scheduled federal pay raise is for these H-2A workers.
While most Americans rightly howl about the illegal immigration crisis and say we are opposed to the use of black-market labor, are we also going to deny the workers here legally a pay raise? We at the Dustin Inman Society say “no.” Let’s allow the raise to go into effect.
How much? For 2024, the federal government raised the hourly wage for H-2A workers in Georgia by about a dollar, from $13.67 to $14.68.
How badly would that increase hurt the typical American family when it comes to the retail cost of fresh fruits and vegetables? According to 2020 stats from the Economic Policy Institute not that much. About the price of a couple of 12-packs of beer, a large pizza, or a nice bottle of wine.”
A 40% increase in pay would cost a typical family just $25 per household annually for fresh produce.
We have posted an easy-to-read article expanding on this data on the front page of ImmigrationPoliticsGA.com website. Please give it a read. Not for the first time, Commissioner Tyler Harper is wrong, and this is not 1859. Let’s pay the legal workers a fair wage.
- Most politicians enjoy hearing from constituents. Here is contact info for Commissioner Tyler Harper.
Tyler Harper Agriculture Commissioner firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (404) 656-3602
A version of this column was published in the January 22, 2024 edition of The Islander newspaper in Glynn Co, GA.