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Immigration Reform in 2017?

by Ken Root

Listen Here: World of Agriculture 2-1-17

Recent executive actions by President Donald Trump could open the door for Congress to consider immigration reform.

Agricultural Interests want workers, but realize the pathway to getting legal aliens is a little dicey. In the coming session, it might happen.

President Trump signed three executive orders addressing border security and other immigration issues.

AFBF Congressional Relations Director Kristi Boswell, says Farm Bureau policy supports border security. “The president executive action directly focusing on border security is definitely a positive step to secure the border. Hopefully the president taking this action allows members of congress to feel some comfort that those steps are being taken. Then they can focus on passing immigration reform that takes legislative action to achieve.”

Boswell says, enforcement of immigration policies could impact agriculture workers. “We want to make sure our work force is legal and valid to work in the United States. However, the reality is that half of our workforce is undocumented. We want to make sure there is thoughtfulness by the administration in their approach, recognizing the nature of our workforce.”

Boswell explains moving forward, agriculture needs reforms to immigration policy “We are hopeful that these actions will open the door to a lot more discussions, allowing the president to take care of enforcement side, especially on border security. Allowing the congress to draft legislation that creates a new flexible visa program for agriculture, that works for seasonal and year round needs. Hopefully they can recognize our current workforce and provide an adjustment so that our workers can obtain legal status, and work legally.”