Some Republican leaders attack undocumented immigrants in tweets, press releases and stump speeches. This country sent to the White House a president fixated on closing borders to refugees and demonizing Mexicans.
Meanwhile, a Congress seemingly obsessed with foreigners has failed to comprehensively reform our immigration system, which leaves the agriculture industry scrambling for enough workers. It has not even managed to pass a clean bill providing a path forward for young people brought to this country as children. It also has not required employers to use E-Verify, a web-based system that can help confirm the eligibility of new hires to work in the United States.
The only thing Washington politicians seem to excel at is being politicians.
Instead of more anti-immigrant rhetoric, how about these elected officials provide a reasonable, realistic plan for immigration reform? And while they have plenty to say about Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts, what do they have to say about Yarrabee Farms?
The Brooklyn-based dairy farm owned by prominent Republican Craig Lang and his family employed Rivera, who is apparently an undocumented immigrant.
After Rivera’s arrest was announced, the company immediately issued a statement saying its employee had been vetted through the government’s E-Verify system. When media asked why Yarrabee was not among the more than 3,100 Iowa companies enrolled with E-Verify, it backtracked and said it did not use the system.
The company also says Rivera used a different name when he was hired years ago. But the public has not been told that name — or whether the man was paid legitimately or paid taxes or how he entered the country.
These are questions that need to be answered to inform an honest conversation on immigration. President Trump continues to call for building a wall on the Mexican border. Yet in many cases, it is not clear how Rivera or others living here illegally got into the United States. For all anyone knows, an employer brought Rivera here.
It is no secret workers are in short supply in this country and state, particularly in the agricultural sector. Iowa’s economy depends on its 84,000 immigrant workers — including those here without legal documentation.
By The Register’s editorial for DES MOINES REGISTER
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