Andrew Good's picture


  by  Andrew Good

The Washington Post recently published an op-ed piece from the American Business Immigration Coalition's top onion magnate, Shay Myers.

I've been meaning to write about this sooner, but House Democrats kept us busy in the lead-up to the passage of the "Build Back Better" bill with its amnesty and green card blowout that makes this year's Black Friday feel anti-climactic. In fact, the 9.5 million foreign nationals that will get U.S. work permits thanks solely to the bill is equivalent to the number of people the TSA screened for holiday travel during Thanksgiving week last year.

While you've no doubt already rent garments over the asparagus shortage as you make your preparations for the holiday, it's worth looking into exactly why your store's shelves are sans your favorite spears (sarc).

Mr. Myers weaves a tale of woe and waste, claiming that his farm had to "give up on selling nearly 150,000 pounds of asparagus because dozens of our guest workers weren't allowed into the United States in time to harvest the crop." The obnoxious use of "our" preceding "guest workers" harken comments of ownership by George Fitzhugh in the dark days of antebellum slavery.

Nevertheless, the social media star persisted in his pleas for "his" (and his cronies') indentured workers from abroad.

Wouldn't it be helpful if an automated option existed? As a result of YouTube(r), we know that such machines are already available.

Nearly a decade ago, Kirpy was offering itself as a solution... specifically to labor shortages. Literally, here's how their video starts:

Just imagine! Thankfully, it needn't be quelle horreur anymore!

I'm not sure what Shay was doing in 2012, but apparently it wasn't learning about new harvesting methods for asparagus in the 21st Century.

But hey, maybe Mr. Myers thought that machine was only for spargel. Don't worry, Shay! Christiaens has your asparagus needs covered: white, green, and purple varieties! And hold on, did I say 21st Century? It turns out that Strauss Verpackungmaschinen Ltd. has been manufacturing machines for harvesting asparagus since 1996.

You'd think that Shay would be aware of all of this, as a presumably technically-adept cofounder of Carbon Robotics. He's been employing robots to do weeding on his land lately.

What could possibly account for his hesitancy in using existing equipment to harvest his crops with mechanization? Wait... he does use sophisticated equipment to help with his operations! And he's adept at securing property tax breaks worth millions of dollars, too!

Is there anything he can't do other than harvest asparagus with existing machines?

I'm starting to get the sense that Shay lent his name to his guestworker-hungry buddies who might not have adapted to modernity quite as well as he has. He clearly knows his onions, taking a farm started by his grandfather from small to "top ten" in the country. But it's important to keep in mind that big agriculture mounts the same desperation-laden PR offensive every year, every season, even when they are raking in record profits.

Call me old fashioned, but I celebrate the growers who unceremoniously excel rather than the grifters who financially compel their patrons in Congress to bend already harmful agricultural guest worker programs to even looser standards. The fact is that there's already plenty of U.S. labor available... it's just not interested in working for Mr. Myers at the pay and under the conditions he's offering.

Similar to the barrons of tech, agriculture CEOs are too busy counting their net worth and acquiring struggling family farms to add to their empire to run an operation where all their jobs provide a minimum standard of dignity capable of enticing and providing for American citizens. It's a class-driven power play, which Congress has facilitated at the expense of growing, immigration-fueled inequality.

This patently ridiculous advocacy might taste good when consumed by a far-removed public, but it will smell up the joint before you know it.

ANDREW GOOD is the Director of the Media Standards Program for NumbersUSA

Updated: Tue, Dec 7th 2021 @ 2:55pm EST

NumbersUSA's blogs are copyrighted and may be republished or reposted only if they are copied in their entirety, including this paragraph, and provide proper credit to NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA bears no responsibility for where our blogs may be republished or reposted. The views expressed in blogs do not necessarily reflect the official position of NumbersUSA.