With political pundits across the country talking about electoral demographics and shifting balances of power, some farmers believe that now is the best time to push Congress and the White House to take action on comprehensive immigration reform.
For the past several years, states across the country have taken action on immigration when the federal government would not. In Arizona, Georgia, and Alabama, state legislatures passed severe immigration restrictions, empowering law enforcement to verify immigration status and requiring employers to verify the residency status of their hires.
These new laws helped drive undocumented workers out of states, something that has seriously hurt the farm sector, which relies on cheap, immigrant labor.
Other states that haven’t passed new immigration laws are also feeling the pinch. In Washington state, for example, fruit farmers have reported lower than average numbers of available farm laborers.
With the political narrative in Washington D.C. revolving around the increasing power of Latino voters, some farmers are arguing that now is the time to push for immigration reform. Across the country, farm groups are calling their local representatives and asking them to support reforms to the guest worker program that would allow more laborers access to American farm jobs.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer