Trump Promises Immigration Reform That Will Work for Agriculture

April 28, 2017 12:00 PM

Earlier this week President Trump hosted a roundtable of farmers at the White House to discuss issues facing agriculture.

The panel of 14 people included farmers, one national FFA officer and the newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“We had a very diverse group not only in regard to production agriculture but also diversity in regard to gender, ethnicity and age,” says Hank Choate, a seventh-generation dairy and row crop farmer near Cement City, Mich.

The group discussed many of the issues farmers are currently up against including immigration, labor, trade, regulation and infrastructure.

Choate says the discussion on immigration was encouraging and that it seems the President began to have a clearer picture of the need for reform.

The farmers in the group made it abundantly clear that many of the immigrant workers on farms have been working for those farms for a long time and are law abiding citizens.

According to Choate, Mr. Trump said the administration will develop a program that not only gives security and piece of mind to those workers but will also provide farmers the skilled labor they need.

The H2A Visa program was also a hot topic during the discussion. A nursery grower from Ohio shared how it had been harder for him to hire employees through the program as the number of visas accessible had been reduced under the Obama administration.

Choate says the President turned to Sonny Perdue and asked that problem be addressed as soon as possible.

Maybe there’s hope for immigration reform that benefits farmers after all.

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Spell Check

Don Honda
Kansas City, KS
4/29/2017 02:13 PM

  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."

Don Honda
Kansas City, KS
4/29/2017 02:14 PM 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 running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). "Whenever there's an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do those jobs that Americans will supposedly not do," said Swain, who teaches law and political science."


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