Florida farmers and the Florida Farm Bureau are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., whose purpose will be to lobby Senators and Representatives, pressuring them to support comprehensive immigration reform.
Immigration has been a hot button issue for the last several years. While on a federal level the government has failed to make any major immigration reforms (preferring, it seems, to accept the status quo), on a state level, several local governments have passed strict immigration laws designed to curb the flow of undocumented workers.
States like Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia have gained national notoriety for passing laws that restrict the ability of undocumented workers to obtain employment while simultaneously empowering police to verify the status of suspected illegal immigrants.
These laws, however, have seriously hurt the farm sector in those states, driving down the number of available farm laborers.
In response, farmers have begun pressuring the federal government to reform immigration policies, particularly the work visa program, in order to allow non-citizens to legally enter the country and obtain work. The Florida Farm Bureau’s upcoming trip will add to the growing cries that the federal government takes action. In the words of Rick Roth, a Florida farmer and longtime advocate for immigration reform, “We want them to know that it’s very important to us that they find a way to make our workers legal.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer