As we’ll discuss below, Mr. York might not have gotten the “for Alaska” right, but he certainly tagged the responsible parties: Alaska’s US Senators, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich.
Mr. York notes that the amnesty bill was “rewritten … to pay a big favor to the state of Alaska and its two senators…” How? By allowing for “more low-wage guest [read “foreign”] workers” to come to Alaska and work in “Alaska seafood processing…”
Rather than going through the standard process where the Commission of the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research relies upon a methodology to determine which occupations have shortages, the amnesty bill specifically designates “Alaska seafood processing” as a “shortage occupation” justifying the immediate importation of foreign workers. Apparently, no other state-based industry receives this type of special treatment under the bill.
So what are average Alaskans getting for their delegation’s hard work in creating this special provision for the state? Screwed, that’s what.
There’s no question that importing foreign workers into a state with significant unemployment is a travesty. What makes matters worse is that much of this seafood processing occurs in rural regions with high native populations. And Alaska’s native unemployment rate is reprehensible, pushing 20%.
So who are the sea food processors that asked for this subsidy? Many – but not all – are foreign to the state, ultimately competing for the same resource that average Alaskans depend on for their personal consumption.
So Mr. York might not understand who our delegation is working for when he suggests their specialized legislation is “for Alaska.” It’s certainly for somebody, but not for ordinary Alaskans.
[see Billy Kristol’s slam on the amnesty bill yesterday:]