Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

The End of the Blue-Collar Boom - Opposing HR 1603

March 18, 2021

(Washington, D.C.) - Congressman McClintock today voted NO on HR 1603.  The Congressman delivered the following remarks on the House floor during debate on the measure:

The End of the Blue-Collar Boom
Opposing HR 1603
March 18, 2021

Madame Speaker,

It was no accident that when we finally won control of the border and cut the flow of low wage labor, Americans saw the strongest wage growth in 40 years, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and the lowest poverty rate in 60 years – and for the first time in decades the wage gap between rich and poor narrowed. 

This bill extends amnesty, green cards and a path to citizenship to somewhere between 1 and 2 ½ million illegal immigrants now working in agriculture – and their families -- in a manner that will depress wages not just in agriculture, but in every field of the economy for years to come.

If you obeyed the law and came here legally to work, you cannot qualify as a Certified Agricultural Worker.  You must have come here illegally and must have worked here illegally for at least 1,035 hours in the last two years.  That’s about 13 40-hour work weeks per year.  You get legal status for yourself and your family for the next 5 ½ years.  You can get indefinite extensions as long as you work in agriculture 575 hours or about 14 weeks each year.  Do this for between four and eight years and you get a green card, your family gets green cards and you are on a five-year path to citizenship.  The green cards give you the right to work in direct competition with American workers in any sector of the economy.

Let me emphasize that if you came here legally and worked the same hours, you’re out of luck.  If you obeyed our laws – well, you’re a schmuck. 

It utterly escapes me how America’s working families are helped by flooding the labor market with millions of low-wage workers under this program.  And as these workers get green cards, they are sure to move from agriculture to higher paying jobs – assuring a continuous need for new agricultural workers to replace them.

Between the two immigration bills today, somewhere north of four million illegal immigrants will qualify for amnesty, legal employment, and a path to citizenship as a reward for breaking our laws. 

Is it any wonder that our border patrol is now completely overwhelmed as millions of economic refugees rush our border in expectation of the same rewards? 

This bill will bring a tragic end to the blue-collar economic boom that President Trump proudly announced on this floor one year ago. 

Here’s the real tragedy.  During the Trump blue-collar boom, the poorest Americans were making the greatest gains.  And it is precisely these American families who will be the most harmed by these amnesty bills.

Trump had their backs.  Biden is on their backs.