In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump restated his plans to shore up our borders and stop the flow of illegal aliens flooding into the country. Republicans jumped to their feet to applaud his words. However, some of those who stood did so reluctantly.

If we could zoom in for a closer look, we would find many of those lawmakers with their finger’s crossed behind their backs. That’s because if they back this president, there will be hell to pay from many of their big business donors if the flow of illegal immigrants is slowed or stopped completely. Their supply of cheap labor will dry up. Who will clean the toilets, man the car washes? Who will pick our fruits and vegetables? Who will fill the low-skilled jobs in our factories?

The reality is that many of those jobs may go unfilled if there is not a companion effort to reform – really reform – welfare.

On Feb. 21, an agri-businessman in Florida complained to a Fox News reporter that he couldn’t get his crops picked due to the renewed effort to enforce our immigration laws. Paul Dimare said that he now ships 20 loads of produce a day where he used to ship as many as 80. He claims he can’t find Americans to do this work for $150 a day.

Said Dimare, “They really didn’t take anybody’s jobs because the Americans aren’t working in the field. That I’m going to tell you!”

The salary Dimare pays is equal to $37,500 per year. That’s three times the current poverty rate of $12,060 per year for a single individual and well above the poverty rate for someone supporting a family of four. At that rate a working couple could pull down $75,000 a year, which would provide a good standard of living in most agricultural areas of the county.

It’s funny how bleeding-heart liberals are all for women in the workforce unless, of course, we are talking about women on welfare. Then, they argue, we can’t expect mothers to work, and certainly not full-time.

So let’s go back to our family of four that could pull down $75,000 working those agri-jobs. Presently, there are over 90 different means-tested welfare programs that will give that family of four with an income of 200 percent of the poverty level, currently $49,200 per year, a plethora of benefits that include things like free housing, free food, free medical care and free money. All they have to do is earn less that $49,200 per year. Why bust their buns to earn $75,000 a year when they can get everything they need for free?

Different states have different requirements and time limits. However, all those requirements have holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through.

But forget the loopholes. Many working-age adults simply apply for and receive disability. It’s not difficult. Since 1990, the number of working-age adults on the disability rolls has doubled. Yes, despite all our medical advances, one in 20 working-age adults has been officially declared “disabled” and has conveniently disappeared from the unemployment rolls. Most of those on disability state one of two problems: mental disorders or back problems.

Trying to access someone’s mental condition is a little like nailing jello to a tree. As far as back problems, show me someone over 40 who doesn’t have them! Thankfully, most people with back problems still go to work and pay the benefits of those who would rather stay home and cash their SSI checks. Show me someone who can hop out of his truck or make every yard sale, and I will show you somebody who has no business sponging off the poor working stiff!

Yes, it has become increasingly hard to find Americans who are willing to work, or willing to work hard at a low-skill job if necessary in order to support themselves. Nevertheless, methinks Mr. Dimare may protest too much.

So far, there has been no serious effort to round up people who are in this country illegally working, but have committed no other crimes. Also, since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act there is no limit to the amount of H-2A agricultural guest workers an employer can bring in legally, provided he can prove a need and is willing to provide befits and wages stipulated by the Department of Labor. Most don’t. It is just too easy to get workers who are willing to simply hop over the border, because they can.

Our welfare system and our immigration system are broken, and it is impossible to fix one and not the other.

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