Sutherland Institute defends guest worker program

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  • Upson Downs Sandy, UT
    June 20, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    It is to bad that the Sutherland Institute tries to pass itself off as a "conservative think tank". The Sutherland Institute is really nothing more than the political propaganda think/speak arm of the LDS Church. One only has to look at their positions on issues such as Immigration and who they side with on these issues to see that they are really a liberal think tank trying to fool people. True Conservatives support the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Law. Both of which are contrary to HB116. True Conservatives also do not vote along with Democratic Politicians like Democratic Senator Luz Robles. Robles is a staunch supporter of Amnesty for Illegals along with the LDS Church and the Sutherland Institute follows their positions.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    June 17, 2011 6:38 a.m.

    gizmo33 8:58am. Do the math. If labor cost is 35% of the cost of strawberries, which at the store I shop at is $1.50/lb., and you double the labor cost to attract legal residents who need a job that pays enough to live on, how much does that increase the cost of strawberries? Then do it again using triple labor cost. Then again with 4x the labor cost. I WILL pay more for strawberries to give a legal resident a good paying job. I WILL pay somewhat more at the hardware store for US made products instead of buying made in China products where workers are paid 1/10th what a US worker needs to make.

  • JBrady Murray, Ut
    June 17, 2011 12:01 a.m.

    Utah's law does change the legal status of those who apply, they are given temporary residency without threat of deportation. Yes, it does create new immigration policy. That ability does not exist right now for any state.

    Why can't the farmers in Utah use the current visa program that's unlimited? Why do we need a second class labor pool with 9% unemployment?

    It's against Federal immigration law and labor laws to give visa jobs to people when Americans will do the job, when paid a comparable wage for the area. Americans aren't lazy, and we aren't stupid either. It's the dishonest business owner that is being subsidized by the taxpayer through illegal labor. Who is lazy?

  • Jonathan S Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 6:51 p.m.

    MTaylor: "I have neighbors in the construction business (20 years) that are being told to pack 15 people into their house so they can live on the reduced wages?

    These men are good honest men. They don't deserve this, none of us do. When they speak up about those here illegally they are called racist, lazy, etc."

    The people who are offering your friends this advice deserve the country they're making, but patriotic Amerians don't. Would I be correct in guessing that those offering the advice are company owners or managers, the sort who can be relied on to extoll immigrants' inspiring work ethic?

    On another note, the illegality of immigrants has little to do with their effect on wages -- it's their expansion, hence cheapening, of the labor pool that matters most. Their willingness to work "off books" plays a role, but only a supporting one.

    Immigration's scale is more damaging than its occasional lack of government sanction.

  • MTaylor PROVO, UT
    June 16, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    The American worker is the most productive worker in the world. So calling us lazy is calling us names.

  • MTaylor PROVO, UT
    June 16, 2011 3:05 p.m.

    There are a lot of us that are probably delegates here. And stopping the name calling would be nice, but on both sides.

    I have neighbors in the construction business (20 years) that are being told to pack 15 people into their house so they can live on the reduced wages?

    These men are good honest men. They don't deserve this, none of us do. When they speak up about those here illegally they are called racist, lazy, etc.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    Agriculture visas are unlimited. We don't need guest workers for agriculture. We have an unlimited supply.

    Breaking the law is not free market. Forcing American citizens to subsidize illegal workers is not free market, it's welfare.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 12:36 p.m.


    Lets take your argument one step further; why shouldn't WE be allowed to bring ALL OTHER professions here from latin america to take jobs?

    Is it o.k. if we bring DRS. lawyers, engineers, etc.? Just because those are licensed occupations, why can't the "free market" decide. If they are not adequately trained won't the market simply weed them out?

    WHY is it o.k. to displace workers at the lower end of the pay scale, but NOT at the upper end?

    Just because a worker does construction or landscape maintenance shouldn't mean he doesn't have at least SOME protections from unfair competition.

  • WhatsGoingOnHere Ogden, UT
    June 16, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    Please stop the insanity.

    Employers are going around current rules so they can make more money. Our response is to make it even easier for illegals to come here and take even more jobs.

    US citizens are being hurt and foreigners are the ones that are benefiting. That is totally upside down. This is completely self destructive behavior. That in my book is insane.

  • mkSdd3 Ogden, UT
    June 16, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    Throw HB116 out and force employers to use current federal programs, verify workers, and apply for work visas. No other legislation is needed.

    I would like those that favor creating new laws to explain to me why the current laws are not sufficient. I understand that businesses are ignoring current laws. I chalk that up to greed. Businesses can make more money by paying illegals under the table. But explain to me how HB116 will be any more relevant than current laws.

    This whole issue is caused by greedy businessmen that want to line their pockets with gold they get by essentially using slave labor. The only thing that is responsible and moral is to follow current laws. If those laws need to be tweaked, make a case for it and lets have a discussion.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 16, 2011 12:03 p.m.


    because we don't agree with you, we're hate-filled?


    recent Washingtonpost article detailed the cost to an apple orchard that was using illegal immigrants, was caught by ICE, and now uses legal immigrants through existing gov't programs - guess what? Apples DON'T cost $11 per pound.

    yes, a number of posts talk about the existing programs established to fascilitate the import of legal immigrants for seasonal labor. Alternatives ARE being offered.

  • H. Bob Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:49 a.m.


    There's also documented evidence that Walmart's business plan involves paying employees so low a wage that they'll have to take advantage of the welfare system as well. All I'm saying is that this is the unregulated free market at work. Undocumented workers have figured out a way to make a living (including working the system) in that market. Walmart has figured out a way to make money in that market, too. All this really boils down to is who's ox is being gored--there are obviously Americans who would like to work but won't accept what the market's offering. Should we regulate the market to their advantage or not?

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    @H. Bob | 10:33 a.m. June 16, 2011

    "Apparently it's possible to work for that wage and still feed yourself and your family; it's also apparent that many Americans don't agree, and won't work for the wage that the market has established."

    Refer to my previous post at 10:44 a.m as to why the wage is so low.

    As to your point about making enough to feed their family, it is not possible for many if not most illegals to feed themselves and their families off the wages they earn. This is why illegals utilize their American born kids to obtain food stamps from the government.

    The fun part here is that enough food stamps are supplied to feed everyone in the household, including the illegals. And for those illegals being paid under the table, why buy your own food when you can show zero income and partake in the welfare program of your choice?

    Of course less than ethical employers know this and are more than willing to let the tax payer pick up the cost as they pad their wallets.

  • wjalden Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    Note that there is no attempt in this article to offer an alternate point of view, which the News would've inisted upon if this had been a statement by UFIRE or one of our state's other pro-enforcement organizations.

    It's bascially a press release/opinion piece masquerading as news, which is the main reason I no longer subscribe to the News and seldom bother to read it at all. With every open borders hit piece, the News's reputation and credibility diminishes.

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    @gizmo33 | 8:58 a.m. June 16, 2011

    To not know the answer to that question is to admit that you haven't been paying attention.

    There are existing federal programs on the books that allow for migrant worker help, H-2A and H-2B. Praxis in an earlier post did an excellent job explaining them. These programs are not being used because farmers can hire illegals at lower cost. Farmers trying to do it the right way cannot stay competitive so they too begin hiring illegals. The end result is that all farmers hire illegals and no one is using the legal methods.

    It has also been shown that paying a higher wage will have very little overall effect on the price of all those fruits and veggies.

  • Viva la Migra American Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    re gizmo:

    Starting at the age of 12 our school district had a program which allowed middle school age kids to work for a few weeks in the summer on Strawberry farms. Every morning a bus would come and pick us up and we would go out and work for a few hours picking berries.

    After filling a flat, we would take it up to be weighed and they would punch a card to track the pounds picked. At the end of the season, we would turn our cards in get would be paid $0.10 / pound.

    If you worked hard, you could maybe pick 100 lbs per day, which worked out to be about $150 for the entire season, which was less than $2 an hour.

    Last time I checked a grocery store, strawberries cost much more than 10 cents a pound. The labor cost is just a fraction of the overall cost of produce, so doubling or even tripling the wages is not going to double/triple the final cost of the product.

  • H. Bob Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    It's funny to read all these comments from (I'd guess) staunch conservatives who apparently don't understand that the labor market that employs undocumented workers is the exact definition of an unregulated free market.
    Those workers ARE doing "work that Americans won't do," or more accurately, work that Americans won't do for the pay the bosses are offering. Apparently it's possible to work for that wage and still feed yourself and your family; it's also apparent that many Americans don't agree, and won't work for the wage that the market has established.
    So which shall it be? A truly unregulated free market where labor costs are set at whatever the market will bear, and workers come from any- and everywhere, or a regulated market where only documented workers are allowed, labor costs and the price of goods goes up?

  • Viva la Migra American Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    I wish the Sutherland Institute would quit using the tired, old argument that all jobs worked by (illegal) immigrants are jobs that Americans won't do. This may be true of some of the agriculture jobs, since they low pay and long hours would make it impossible for a U.S. adult to support himself, let alone a family.

    When I was growing up me and most of my friends worked in agriculture from the age of 12..16, some of them continued to do so through college to help with their expenses. These are perfect jobs for young unskilled workers who ant some responsibility and a chance to earn some extra money.

    This is why illegal and legal immigrants who permanently live here (with their families) started moving on into other areas which pay more than agriculture: painting, landscaping, construction. It may also explain why 90% of the children born to Latino immigrants (legal and illegal) receive WIC/medicare assistance (according to La Raza).

    There are plenty of examples of illegal aliens holding good paying jobs that an American would want. Like the deported branch president working at a charter school, or the Alaskan Police officer.

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    June 16, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    just one question.... whos gonna go out -n- pick all them fruits and veggies ? ... lets see if they have to pay you minimum wage of 7.25 an hour I figure a head of lettuce should cost you about $9.00 and apples should be around $11.00 a pound eh ?

  • Al Vernal, UT
    June 16, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    I am a republican delegate and will be at the convention. I will not post here which way I will vote.

    I will say that since I was appointed as an alternate, I have received many emails and letters trying to influence my vote on this topic. Some have been respectful, but most have not. Some, including from leadership, have been threatening and full of vitriol (like most of these posts).

    If you have something to say, say it; but you don't have to resort to name-calling or belittling people who see things differently. It seems that anyone who differs in any way from a point of view is a RINO. If that is the case, then everyone except the person themself is a RINO.

    Argue points on merit (and there is a lot of merit to these arguments) but don't start name-calling and belittling those who disagree. What makes you so superior to them that you can talk down to them?

    I think that we republicans win on the merits of our arguments, let the democrats call names and belittle, it's what they do best.

  • Jazz Bass Man Wellsville, Utah
    June 16, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    If greedy employers had to cease hiring illegals from south of the border, and play on a fair playing field, then maybe my teenage sons could find jobs doign the same type of entry level jobs that the rest of us used to work when we were teens. This is how it's been done for the entire history of our country. Utah does not "need" illegals to do these jobs, we need to put our kids and out of work adults back to work. How is granting a guest worker program (amnesty) fair to real immigrants who are going to such lengths to play by the rules and gain citizenship legally? This is really about letting a group of people who are of the right skin color (La Raza) butt in line in front of the rest of the world's poor would-be immigrants, all because they managed to hop the border illegally, and it's not right.

    The Sutherland institute is not "conservative" in any estimation of the word, if they go to such lengths to promote amnesty for illegals. It's time to throw HB116 into the trash where it belongs.

  • fowersjl Farmington, Utah
    June 16, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    These hate-filled comments make me sad.

  • E. Matscheko St. George, UT
    June 16, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    With thousands of Utahns unemployed, do we really need a guest worker program? Let's first, find work for Utahns and secure our nations borders and then focus on a guest worker program for documented aliens married to US citizens.

  • Craig Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    With all the millions of people unemloyed right now the last thing we need isa quest worker program. There is no legal job that is below an unemployed American. It is racist to imply that some jobs are only for Mexicans.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    "The reality is that this entire debate would be largely irrelevant if American workers would do the sort of work that immigrants do,"

    like drywall and construction? you mean legal residents won't do those jobs?

    according the US Bureau of Labor, there are nearly 2 million fewer jobs today than when BO signed his porkulus. We have fewer jobs and don't need illegals coming in, stealing what jobs exist, and expatriating their earnings.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:32 a.m.

    There are two groups which I am very suspicious of. 1) The "conservative" Sutherland Institute and 2) The ACLU. When they are on the same side it is time to run for cover.

  • Jonathan S Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    Guest worker programs import people, not "workers." It seems odd at first that the pro-immigration types who complain of the allegedly "dehumanizing" nature of terms like "illegal alien" are those who give the clinical label of "worker" to those foreigners they wish to import.

    But this is no accident on their part. Calling people "workers" implies that they're mere economic units like goods, services, or capital. Such inanimate objects don't generate birthright citizenship-eligible babies, among other externalities unique to humans, but immigration enthusiasts would prefer us to be confused as to this difference between a farm's tractor and its "workers."

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    The crew that did the stucco on my house in 2000 were all local, legal citizens, and they made pretty good money. Now, I know most of them are unemployed or have moved out of the area. The homes being built now have all illegal labor doing the stucco. This is just one example of what is going on in the trades. I support E-verify. Viva LEGAL immigration.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    June 16, 2011 7:12 a.m.

    "The reality is that this entire debate would be largely irrelevant if American workers would do the sort of work that immigrants do," according to the institute.

    Think employers addicted to cheap labor not to lower prices but increase bottom lines. I am no fan of union induced inflated wages but this addiction to cheap labor needs to halt. Pay a fair price and americans will work.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 6:51 a.m.

    Illegal trespassers don't obey the law now, why should we think they will if we have a new law implemented?

  • tom_e Kaysville, UT
    June 16, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    As someone said the other day someone said the Sutherland Institute is really just an arm of the Salt Lake Chamber. Excuse me their greed is really showing.

  • jim l West Jordan, UT
    June 16, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    WE dont need guest workers. We need jobs, WE dont need our wages suppressed any longer.

  • Gordonwho Milville, UT
    June 16, 2011 6:00 a.m.

    "The reality is that this entire debate would be largely irrelevant if American workers would do the sort of work that immigrants do," according to the institute.

    Like construction, landscaping, waiter/waitress. ect.
    get a clue. Send them home and put our citizens to work doing all these jobs.

  • JustGordon Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 16, 2011 4:35 a.m.

    The Sutherland Institute is a RINO organization?!! Now there's a totally inaccurate observation. How far to the right must one be think the the Sutherland Institute is RINO?

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2011 4:21 a.m.

    "HB116 would require accountability for their illegality."

    The truth is that HB116 would do absolutely nothing to ensure that illegal aliens "account" for themselves and their wrongdoing.

    "HB116 would not favor illegal aliens."
    Yes it would -- just as illegal aliens currently are favored. In this connection, Mero claims that there is no evidence that offering a higher wage would attract more workers to the jobs "Americans won't do." Ridiculous.

    HB116 focuses on dangerous criminals. It would do nothing to help bring these to justice. What's more, HB116 looks the other way at identity theft and other "non-violent" crimes, rationalizing these as justifiable on the part of the illegal alien, and acceptable on the part of Utah citizens.

    "HB116 respect families."

    t does not. It encourages illegal immigration which frequently results in a father leaving his family behind in their country in order to steal his way into the United States, which breaks up families. It also ignores the plight of U.S. citizen families who suffer tremendously, whose very homes are in jeopardy in many cases, as a result of illegal immigration.

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    June 16, 2011 2:27 a.m.

    So since this group calls themselves a think tank, here is a question they can mull around. Whats to stop one of these illegals from leaving there slave labor work and going after the higher paying legal job once the State of Utah has granted them amnesty? Then who will fill the illegal slave labor jobs? Could it be more illegals? The bill is a job killer for legal workers and a job creator for illegals.

    Why, pray tell, would the sutherland group keep rehashing the same old fuzzy logic in an effort to defend this horribly flawed bill?

    Stop insulting our intelligence. You're only embarrassing yourselves in the process.

  • Lectori Salutem Beautiful Salt Lake Valley, Utah
    June 16, 2011 12:37 a.m.

    Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced a mandatory E-Verify bill (Legal Workforce Act, HR2164) in the House. This bill requires all American employers to use E-Verify, which immediately and accurately verifies eligibility of 99.5% of legal workers. Social Security no-match letters are also part of this. The Act would be phased in over a couple of years (three for agriculture). The US Chamber of Commerce has endorsed this Act as they don't want a patchwork of state laws. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has also introduced a similar bill in the Senate. I encourage everyone to contact our representatives and ask them to support mandatory E-Verify. Many believe mandatory E-Verify will pass this summer.

    The Republican Party's plank, here and nationally, explicitly states the Republican Party does not support legalization for illegal immigrants. Yet, we have HB116, the monstrosity that intends to make illegal, legal. I stand with those who feel betrayed by this insidious bill.

    HB116 should be repealed for many reasons, including the national bills mentioned above and the fact that some Republican legislators are violating the tenets of their party's plank.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2011 12:24 a.m.

    One week he wants Robles bill back, the next week HB 116.

    We have a visa/guest worker program already, we have 9% unemployment, this is not needed. Utah will be known as the state that tried to create a sub class of workers for business. This and the other sub-worker class bills need to go.

  • Teacher35yrs. Sandy, UT
    June 15, 2011 10:02 p.m.

    Thanks to the sutherland institute and the aclu America is moral decline. Any organized group that embraces anti- American philosophies is part of our downfall.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    June 15, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    It is hard to call this a conservative think tank when they back an unconstitutional law. Attempting to influence delegates against the will of the voters is not what is needed. Of course the DesNews is just as bad running all the pro illegal immigration stories.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    June 15, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    I will never again support the Sutherland Institute. Since Gaylord Swim passed away, they have gone downhill fast. There is no substance to their organization anymore.

  • Emophiliac Vernal, UT
    June 15, 2011 7:31 p.m.

    Doesn't matter how the Sutherland Institute colors it, that law is worthless and is a spit in the face of the 100,000 unemployed Utahns. The Sutherland Institute, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the rest of them need to go down in flames at the Republican Convention this weekend.

  • praxis Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    From the NY Times article:
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted an audit of employees at Gebbers Farms, an apple producer in Brewster, Washington. ICE found evidence that more than 500 of its workers, mostly immigrants from Mexico, were in the country illegally. ICE then advised Gebbers Farms of Social Security and immigration numbers that did not check out with federal databases. The workers were then fired.

    John Morton, the head of the immigration agency, said the goal of the audits is to create "a culture of compliance" among employers, so that verifying new hires would be as routine as paying taxes. ICE leaves it up to employers to fire workers whose documents cannot be validated. But an employer who fails to do so risks prosecution.

    After completing a federally mandated local labor search, Gebbers Farms applied to the federal guest worker program to import about 1,200 legal temporary workers most from Mexico. The guest workers, who can stay for up to six months, also included about 300 from Jamaica.

    Utah employers aren't willing to use the program. HB116 should be replaced with legislation REQUIRING all companies to use E-Verify and the EXISTING Federal Guest Worker program.

  • praxis Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    Paul Mero fails to acknowledge that a Utah Guest Worker program like HB116 is not needed. There is already a way for workers to come to the U.S. legallythe EXISTING Federal Guest Worker program with categories for different work types:

    - Permanent Labor Certification: A certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States.

    - H-2A Temporary Labor Certification (Seasonal Agricultural): Program for agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

    - H-2B Temporary Labor Certification (Non-agricultural): Program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis.

    For those that say the process/program is broken, an article published in the NY Times, 09 July 2010, shows otherwise. Continued

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 15, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    Sutherland Institute is just plain wrong on this issue.

    They used to be a conservative group, but a few years ago they seem to have flip-flopped and are proving themselves to be an irrelevant and dysfunctional entity.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    forget that it is Unconstitutional for a minute......lets just examine the sutherland Institute....are they not a RINO Organization? Methinks they are no9thing more than a bunch of Obama Libs dressed up parading as the GOP! They are not and should not be taken serious....why does the DNEWS ask these groups for their obvious opinion?
    We are not fools here in Utah.....we know when we see a scam!

    Lets hope the delegates overturn hb 116 and send the RINO's a clear message....The conservatives are back and we want our party back.....