Farm groups across the country have joined together to create an immigration-reform coalition designed to pressure Congress to improve work visa requirements and farm labor laws.
For the past few years, immigration has taken center stage in several states. In places like Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia, state legislatures have passed strict new immigration laws designed to curb the flow of undocumented workers.
These laws have limited illegal immigration, but have also taken a toll on farmers who have encountered a significant drop in available farm labor. Some states have lost millions of dollars in revenue as crops have rotted in fields without hands to pick them.
In order to counter dwindling access to labor, farm organizations across the country have banded together to push for major immigration reform. In particular, these groups are calling for major reforms to the federal work visa program, reforms that would allow more non-citizens to legally reside and work in the United States.
According to the president of Western Growers, “We have an unprecedented opportunity now that Democrats and Republicans are having a serious conversation about the critical need for immigration reform—an opportunity that cannot be wasted. Agricultural employers have come together as never before in lock-step and agreement about a workable proposal that will serve the needs of farmers, workers and the American people. The time for immigration reform is now.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer