Complying with existing law is essential in 2011, since few expect any policy or legal changes this year.
“Congress is not interested in finding solutions to the national immigration problem,” says Ohio immigration attorney Ryan Miltner. “If there’s a take-away message from the last three years, it’s that immigration is politically driven, not policy-driven.
“Many legislators are interested in using immigration problems and vocal opinions to garner donations, get votes and make headlines,” he adds.
With the new Republican House majority, it’s highly unlikely that the U.S. will see comprehensive immigration reform “in any way that’s beneficial for dairy producers in securing a fully documented labor force,” says Miltner, who serves as counsel to dairy producers on federal affairs and policy matters.
The most recent Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have used enforcement techniques to demonstrate they’re tough on illegal immigration so Congress doesn’t need to act, Miltner adds.
He’s not optimistic about AgJOBS’ passage this year, although he and many others support the proposed guest-worker bill. “AgJOBS is a wonderful bill, not just for dairy but for all areas of agriculture,” Miltner says. “Its language is exactly what dairy and agriculture need.”