Organized Crime In California

Here`s a story about how the Bush crackdown isn`t very serious, which will surprise exactly no one. But the level of crime in the California agribusiness industry is shocking.

Tom Nassif, president of the California Grower`s Association, [Sic, actually the Western Growers Association]said any “no-match” letters a company receives will come out during a civil trial if that business is ever cited for immigration violations.

And if the company has not complied, it could face the tough new financial and prison penalties.

“We could be targets for these investigations,” he said. “It behooves us to do what we can to follow them.”

Nassif said he still believes the new rules will cripple California`s $37 billion agricultural industry. About 70 percent of the state`s estimated 500,000 farmworkers are illegal immigrants, he said, and he believes most will be fired by fearful employers.

“With that dramatic a loss, I think people stop producing,” he said.
[SGVTribune.com – Worker plan has no legal support, By Lisa Friedman, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, August 17, 2007

I don`t know why, if he`s head of an association where the members depend entirely on the proceeds of crime, and will go out of business if the law is enforced, he`s surprised that he and his members “could be targets for these investigations,” How is this not organized crime?

Here`s another story about Mr. Nassif, from 2005

Shortly before Thanksgiving last year, Tom Nassif did something few law-abiding citizens would ever think to do: He called the U.S. Border Patrol here and suggested agents stop manning a highway checkpoint intended to keep illegal immigrants out of the country.
A former U.S. ambassador and currently the president of a powerful farming association, Mr. Nassif told officials that the agency couldn`t have picked a worse time to beef up enforcement. Didn`t they know it was lettuce season?

That`s from a Wall Street Journal story, As Border Tightens, Growers See Threat to `Winter Salad Bowl` [March 11, 2005 | MIRIAM JORDAN.(Pay archive.)]

Nassif, who is well-connected in Republican circles, pressured the Border Patrol to stop enforcing the law, because he has three thousand employers who need a 350, 000 illegals to pick their crops, or they`ll go out of business.

The checkpoint — complete with drug-sniffing dogs — was meant to stop the flow of illegal immigrants who might have slipped through the regular border controls. But it was also ensnaring busloads of undocumented workers who are critical to the task of picking lettuce and other vegetables during the winter growing season here. Border patrol Public Information Officer Joseph Brigman says he told Mr. Nassif that “we aren`t targeting fieldworkers; we`re conducting normal operations.”

Mr. Nassif, head of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, an association of 3,000 farmers who grow, pack and ship about half the nation`s fresh produce, didn`t buy that. The next day, he issued a public protest saying the ill-timed action was provoking an “acute shortage of labor” that threatened the harvest, which was just getting under way, and the economy of Arizona`s richest agricultural region. Calling for the checkpoint to be moved, Mr. Nassif demanded a “reasonable application of enforcement now and in the future.”

Few industries have come so close to admitting they cannot survive without the labor of illegal immigrants.

Few industries would have the nerve. I think that a “reasonable application of enforcement” would start with a Federal Grand Jury investigating Mr. Nassif, the WGA, and anyone in the Border Patrol who may have given him cooperation.