For as long as we can remember, it seems the No. 1 priority for the fresh produce industry and its lobbyists has been to urge lawmakers and the president to fix our country’s broken immigration system.
Now it appears the wait for reform will extend beyond this year and perhaps even past the presidential election of 2016. Speaking one year after the Senate passed an immigration reform bill, President Obama said House Republican leadership has informed him that the GOP will block immigration reform for the balance of the year.
The lack of a legal and secure domestic workforce for agriculture will continue to threaten U.S. growers for the foreseeable future, slowly giving incentives to growers to move their production to other countries.
Given the sad and distressing reports this summer of thousands of children crossing the southern U.S. border, with some perishing in the journey, Americans want the U.S. to prevent such unchecked and perilous surges of immigrants.
This has led to a renewed interest in border security, and those who oppose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants are gaining strength by using the term “amnesty.”
House Republicans dare not be on the side of amnesty or they may lose their primary, as some already have.
The fact is, the produce industry has been on the side of amnesty, and it doesn’t need to be.
The industry should urge its lobbyists to continue the fight for a legal workforce, but the path to citizenship is a political loser right now and isn’t essential to the industry’s needs.
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