Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York said Thursday that “vegetables would rot in the ground” if illegal immigrants weren’t around to pick them.

Nadler made the statement during his opening remarks at a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement, titled “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Social Services.” Nadler, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, serves as an ex officio member of the subcommittee.

“We need immigrants in this country,” Nadler said. “Forget the fact that the farm… vegetables would rot in the ground if they weren’t being picked by many immigrants — many illegal immigrants!”

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Over 300,000 illegal immigrants crossed into the United States in December. Almost 380,000 illegal immigrants have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border during the first two months fiscal year 2024, which started Oct. 1, according to data released by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), following 2,045,838 encounters in fiscal year 2023, 2,206,436 in fiscal year 2022 and 1,659,206 in fiscal year 2021.

Many illegal immigrants have made their way to cities like Chicago and New York City, some of whom have been bussed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas began busing migrants to New York City and other so-called “sanctuary” cities in 2022

“The fact is, the birth rate in this country is way below replacement level,” Nadler, a staunch supporter of abortion rights, said.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, by a 219-213 vote on May 11, but the legislation is strongly opposed by Congressional Democrats and the White House. Republicans have demanded that provisions from the legislation be included in compromise spending legislation, threatening to shut down the government if it is not passed.

Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer negotiated a bipartisan deal this week that would fund the government with $1.590 trillion in spending until the end of Fiscal Year 2024.

Harold Hutchison on January 11, 2024
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