Clinton, Trump Camps Don't Want to "Cripple" Ag Over Immigration

October 24, 2016 12:30 PM

With a little more than two weeks before the presidential elections, campaigns for both Donald Trump-R and Hillary Clinton-D are representing the candidates on issues facing agriculture.

Kathleen Merrigan, former deputy secretary of agriculture, represented the Clinton campaign while Sam Clovis, campaign co-chair, represented the Trump campaign.

AgDay host Clinton Griffiths spoke one-on-one with the candidates about immigration and the impact it could have on agriculture.

Clovis mentioned 1 in 4 workers in agriculture are illegal. He said this is “interesting” because there is no limit in the H-2A Seasonal Agricultural Workers Visa.

“If the ag industry wanted to have legal workers, they could do that,” said Clovis. “It’s a matter of convenience or it's just settled into these issues.”

On the other hand, Merrigan said Clinton understands the ag industry is being “crippled” because there’s no certainty when it comes to workers.

“We don’t know if the labor supply is going to be there,” said Merrigan. “This is at crisis level.”

Despite these differing views on workers, both campaigns say they want immigration reform. Clovis mentioned bringing in farmers and ranchers into the discussion, wanting to establish a rule of law to make the U.S. workforce legal.

“We’re not going out to cripple an industry just because we’ve had a change of administration,” said Clovis.

Merrigan told Griffiths in the first 100 days of Clinton’s term, she wants to put forth a comprehensive immigration reform plan.

“American agriculture is dependent on foreign-born labor and we need to figure this out,” said Merrigan.

Listen to the two discuss immigration in the full-length segment above.

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Spell Check

Don Honda
New York, NY
10/25/2016 11:39 AM

  The U.S. currently has eleven non immigrant guest worker visa programs. There is no cap on the number of workers allowed into the U.S. under the H-2A temporary agricultural guest worker visa program. "The provision could more than triple the number of H-2B visas for foreign workers seeking jobs at hotels, theme parks, ski resorts, golf courses, landscaping businesses, restaurants and bars. The move is intended to boost the supply of non-agricultural seasonal workers." Alabama had to bite the bullet and hire LEGAL Immigrants for its AG Industry: Africans Relocate to Alabama to Fill Jobs After Immigration Law "East Coast began calling Atlanta refugee agencies several months ago looking for legal immigrants to come to Alabama for a year, said Mbanfu, refugee employment director for Lutheran Services in Atlanta. He said the company would have taken as many refugees as he could refer. The agency connected East Coast with refugees who had been in the country three to five years, he said." Immigration raids yield jobs for legal workers 'When federal agents descended on six meatpacking plants owned by Swift & Co. in December 2006, they rounded up nearly 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants that made up about 10% of the labor force at the plants. But the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents did not cripple the company or the plants. In fact, they were back up and r


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