Waters Tells GOP Audience He Likely Hires Undocumented Workers, Favors Legalization Program

A farmer running for the Ventura County Board of Supervisors told a Republican group recently that most of the 1,800 agricultural workers he hires are probably undocumented, that he does not verify their legal status in a government database and that he favors a pathway to legalization for longtime workers.

Candidate Andy Waters’ position squares with those taken by advocacy groups for growers and workers, but a political scientist said it could hurt the Moorpark man’s standing in the race for the seat in the conservative 4th District.

Waters made the comments, which were recorded on video and posted online, at a debate sponsored by the Simi Valley/Moorpark Republican Women Federated.

He is speaking truth on an issue, but he picked an interesting venue in which to do it,” said Tim Allison, an adjunct professor at CSU Channel Islands.

Waters said later that he does not alter his remarks for the audience, is not a politician and was being truthful.

“If I lose the election, so be it,” he said.

Illegal immigration is an issue that cuts in “very strange” ways in Ventura County, Allison said.

Among the Republican base, you would normally have a base of people that do not favor illegal immigration in all forms except for the agricultural community, which recognizes a need for a workforce,” he said. “For Waters, it is pretty interesting because he is a conservative Republican, but also involved in agriculture. He, like many farmers in our county, is conflicted on immigration.”

Waters spoke at the April 20 event along with Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber, the other Republican seeking the nonpartisan seat in the June 5 primary. The two men along with Democrat Bernardo Perez are seeking to represent the district encompassing Simi Valley, Moorpark and outlying areas.

Perez was not invited because the club’s bylaws and those of its national and state affiliates limit participation to Republicans, club President Ann Duran said.

By Kathleen Wilson for VC STAR
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