Wealthy Californians are beginning to repent their state’s pro-immigration stance. Farmers in the liberal state report that city officials are reluctant to grant housing to their migrant workers. Residents are afraid that the value of their homes will topple while crime rates soar. The fear is so rampant that less than a year ago a migrant home was burned to the ground so the workers could not move in.
In addition to the countless undocumented migrants employed as produce pickers in California, large farms hire thousands of temporary Hispanic workers. Law requires the farm operators to find suitable housing for their foreign employees.
The Los Angeles Times reports that California’s tough housing market is causing a problem for migrants. When employers suggest building large scale housing projects, locals balk at the idea. Rich, small-town Americans don’t want their neighborhoods invaded by impoverished, unvetted foreigners. Many of the migrants legally allowed into the States on a working visa will remain even after their visa expires.
“Last year, California recruited more than 11,000 guest workers, largely to pick strawberries or cut lettuce…Recruitment in the first four months of this year is up 25% over a similar period last year,” The Times wrote.
Strawberry grower Greg France planned to develop a plot of land in Nipomo, California into a housing development for 100 migrant workers. Locals were so opposed to the plan that one of the houses was burned down before it could be completed.
California liberals love to blather about multiculturalism and the benefits of unchecked immigration, but their tolerance is more theoretical than actual. They’re willing to champion migrant rights politically, but they’re uncomfortable with the idea of their city turning into a migrant town.
“The H-2A [program] is not the answer, guys,” Rick Antle, chief executive of Tanimura & Antle told the Times. “As much as you hear people saying that’s the solution, it’s not. That worker is taking his earnings and he’s exporting them to Mexico. He’s not spending them locally.”
A job that goes to a Mexican migrant is a job that won’t be going to an American citizen. It’s not true that Americans are unwilling to work hard. Employers hire illegal immigrants because they’re willing to work at poverty-level wages. It’s not a fair competition.
A few California towns have been persuaded to host migrant camps.
“It’s beautiful — I would put a family in there,” Alfred Diaz-Infante, president, and CEO of CHISPA, a private, nonprofit, affordable housing developer said when questioned about migrant housing development in Salinas. “That’s something we’re advocating for. We know what happened in the bracero era, where they built bunkhouses and over the years they became worker housing.”
The Salinas example, however, is rare. Most of the migrants who come to the states to pick produce are males. Grouping hundreds of poor young men together in the same spot could easily lead to violence. The peace in Salinas is so unusual that authorities are looking past housing violations.
“We really have not dug into it, because we can’t keep up with our own issues,” said Megan Hunter, director of community development for Salinas. “We’re not turning a blind eye, but we’re not going after people who are otherwise safely housed.”
Family neighborhoods aren’t charities. The place to host hundreds of poor migrants isn’t in an American’s backyard. The immigration process is too mired in criminal activity.
Compounding the problem is California’s cutthroat real-estate market. Affordable housing in the state is becoming scarce even for residents.
“It’s not just H-2A (visas),” Santa Maria Deputy City Manager Jason Stilwell said. “It’s like that in every city. A lot of houses are overcrowded.”
California’s bold words on immigration are just that- words. Residents have proven that when faced with having their neighborhoods overrun by migrants their views become significantly more conservative.
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