Farmers Make Case for Commuter Guest Worker Program

Southwestern farmers continue to push for significant reforms to the federal guest worker program. At the top of their wish list is the creation of a commuter guest worker system that would allow farmers to employ temporary workers who reside in Mexico.

For the past few years, immigration has been a hot-button issue across the country. In 2010, Arizona passed a tough new immigration law designed to curb the flow of undocumented workers (this law has been challenged in federal court and is still in the process of litigation).

Arizona farmers, however, are speaking out against immigration restrictions, and are pressuring the state and federal government to relax work visa requirements. This effort is largely the result of the decline of domestic farm labor. With fewer and fewer American citizens willing to work as farm laborers (and with legal immigration difficult for unskilled workers), many farmers feel compelled to seek out undocumented workers to meet their labor needs.

The recently proposed commuter guest worker program, unveiled at a temporary worker conference held in Yuma, Arizona, would allow farmers to use migrant labor without requiring them to be housed in the United States. Current guest worker programs require farmers to provide housing for workers. Many Arizona farmers, however, claim that Mexican workers tend to prefer to reside across the border and enter the United States to work, rather than to live.

To learn more about agricultural financing opportunities contact a Farm Plus Financial representative by calling 866-929-5585 or by visiting

Follow us on: Twitter

Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer