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Senate Proceeding on May 14th, 2009 :: 0:22:40 to 0:35:00
Total video length: 9 hours 49 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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John Thune

0:22:32 to 0:22:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Thune: united states economy? at a critical time. ag jobs have two parts. the first meets the immediate

Dianne Feinstein

0:22:40 to 0:35:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein

0:22:42 to 0:23:05( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: needs of our farmers by creating a program that would provide an opportunity for experienced agricultural workers right to apply for legal status in this country. the second part meets the long-term needs of farmers by

Dianne Feinstein

0:23:06 to 0:23:28( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: reforming the h-2a, that's the temporary worker program for the farm industry, temporary visa system, so that if new workers are needed, farmers an growers a legal path to bring in who work on their crops.

Dianne Feinstein

0:23:29 to 0:23:49( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: it allows agricultural workers to apply for a blue card if can demonstrate that they can work in agriculture united states for at least 150 work days within the previous two years before december 31st, 2008. the second requires that a blue

Dianne Feinstein

0:23:50 to 0:24:10( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: cardholder work in the industry for an additional 150 days per year for at least three years or 100 work days per year for five years. at the end of thi can obtain a green card, can continue to work in agriculture or move into other work.

Dianne Feinstein

0:24:11 to 0:24:31( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: workers participating in the program will be required to pay a fine of $500, show that they're and that they have not been convicted of any crime that involves bodily injury, the threat to bodily injury or harm to property.

Dianne Feinstein

0:24:32 to 0:24:54( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: so employment is verified through employer-issued itemized statements, pay stubs, contracts or agreements, employer-sponsored health care, time cards or payment of taxes. so, essentially, at the end of a period that

Dianne Feinstein

0:24:55 to 0:25:15( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: will be able to become legal to have citizenship in this country. ag jobs would also extremeline the current guest worker program known as the h2a program, which is currently unwieldily and ineffective. among other things, the bill

Dianne Feinstein

0:25:16 to 0:25:36( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: will shorten the labor certification process which now often takes 60 days reducing the approval process to 48 -- to 72 hours. advertising and positive recruitment for united states market is required by filling a

Dianne Feinstein

0:25:37 to 0:25:57( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: job notification with the local agency of the security agency. petions for admission of h2 a a workers must be processed and the counselor of port of entry notified. so there are a number of reforms in this bill which had, in fact,

Dianne Feinstein

0:25:58 to 0:26:20( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: been agreed upon. the reforms to the h2a agricultural worker program is especially important to meet the needs of industries, such as, dairy, which are not covered by the seasonal programs.

Dianne Feinstein

0:26:21 to 0:26:41( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: consequently the h2a program, or the temporary worker program, which should use that program, it doesn't work for that program. they need workers 24/7, 365 day as there was an

Dianne Feinstein

0:26:42 to 0:27:02( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: by researchers at texas a&m. that will be released next week on the economic impacts of immigration on u.s. dairy farms. over 5,000 dairy farms surveyed nationally with response from 47 states are in this of these 50% used immigrant

Dianne Feinstein

0:27:03 to 0:27:25( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: labor. so immigrant labor now for 62% of milk production in 47 states. as can be seen from this chart eliminating immigrant labor would reduce the united states

Dianne Feinstein

0:27:26 to 0:27:47( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: dairy herd milk production by 29.5 billion pounds -- and the number of farms by retail milk prices will increase 61%. that's the result of our

Dianne Feinstein

0:27:48 to 0:28:10( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: continng down this path where we don't recognize what is basic reality and that reality is that the farm and the dairy community depend on undocumented worker who will do this kind of work. people don't believe that.

Dianne Feinstein

0:28:11 to 0:28:33( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: but a californiawe went to each one of the 58 county welfare de that said: agricultural worker jobs available. please sign here. call this number. and you know what? from this? not a single one.

Dianne Feinstein

0:28:34 to 0:28:55( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: that's the fact of life. and highway down to the coast, and i go through the great selenas valley and watch the row sprayed or harvested and i see

Dianne Feinstein

0:28:56 to 0:29:18( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: the contingent workers in the field and you see them soped over hour after hour and the sun is 100-degrees or mor temperature,ou see the specific nature of this work. now, people look at it as unskilled labor. it isn't unskilled labor. it is a learned skill. these workers have to move fast. many of them are paid by the

Dianne Feinstein

0:29:19 to 0:29:42( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: basket or the whatever. and so they have a skill. they know what equipment they use. they know how to -- equipment they use. they know how to handle their hands, their tactical supply, and they move row after row

Dianne Feinstein

0:29:43 to 0:30:04( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: afro-down thafter -- afro-down th field. recently we had a who worked in the field who had heat exhaustion and died in the hospital. this is back breaking, difficult work. and there are very few americans who are willing to do this work. so the bulk of the agricultural

Dianne Feinstein

0:30:05 to 0:30:26( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: industry in my state $40 billion is carried on by lak like it or not the undocumented worker. my point is that it is time to recognize reality. i can't have, and, madam president, you can't have farmers standing in bread lines because they can't get the labor to plant their

Dianne Feinstein

0:30:27 to 0:30:47( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: crops and they can labor to harvest these crops. so the fields across america are increasingly being fallow. this makes and i think this body has to face up to tall instead of cringing because

Dianne Feinstein

0:30:48 to 0:31:09( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: we don't wt to acknowledge that the basic workforce in the american agriculture community is undocumented farm look, these are good jobs. these people will take these jobs. they do these jobs. they they are proud of them.

Dianne Feinstein

0:31:10 to 0:31:30( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: and i tnk that's a desirable thing. i think that's what we want. so, what this bill does -- and at one point this bill passed with more than a majority -- is essentially to say let's face up to a real issue that the american farm industry

Dianne Feinstein

0:31:31 to 0:31:52( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: is in crisis, that the industry is deteriorating, that we are losing produce, that we will lose whole lines of produce, like i mentioned, specialized asparagus in south of my state, if we don't stand up and say the american farmer deserves a workforce.

Dianne Feinstein

0:31:53 to 0:32:14( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: and this happens to workforce. let me give you -- this is a her name is toni she lives in lake county. this is one picture. there is actually a better picture that shows piles of

Dianne Feinstein

0:32:15 to 0:32:36( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: pa eu -- piles of pears on the ground. she couldt harvest her crop because she couldn't find workers who would do the job. and so she crop. in your state, madam president -- new york -- 800 farms and 700 million in sales may well be forced to go

Dianne Feinstein

0:32:37 to 0:32:59( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: out of business or scale back their farm operations if labor shortages continue. for the first time since 1991, this is a constituent of yours. his name is jim bittner. he is a sweet cherry and peach farmer in appleton, new york.

Dianne Feinstein

0:33:00 to 0:33:20( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: he is the owner of singer farms, and he had to raise 10% of his sweet cherry and peach orchards last year because he could not get farm labor the truth is americans will not do the work. it sustains agriculture.

Dianne Feinstein

0:33:21 to 0:33:42( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: the truth is it is hard stoop labor requiring long and unpredictable hours. be persistent. it's not going to go away. it's not going to get better next year unless we have the courage -- the guts, if you will -- to stand up to those who would deride this and say a major industry in america

Dianne Feinstein

0:33:43 to 0:34:03( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: deserves a steady labor and particularly because of these difficult economic times. the washingt reported that nearly 500 tons of apples were not picked in the

Dianne Feinstein

0:34:04 to 0:34:27( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: state' apple har vits last year -- harvests last year due to picker shortages. and experts estimate that nearly 80% of florida's 150,000 agricultural workers are undocumented immigrants. this is documentation.

Dianne Feinstein

0:34:28 to 0:34:49( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: 80% of the florida agriculture work base is undocumented. but this is a $1.6 billion a year business that produces up tomatoes that americans eat between the months of december and may.

Dianne Feinstein

0:34:50 to 0:35:01( Edit History Discussion )

Dianne Feinstein: once the trees are gone, they're replaced by crops that do not require manual labor. as a result, our pears, our apples, our oranges are going to

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