The Packer’s newest poll question simply asks “How do you feel about President Trump’s plan to build a border wall at the U.S.- Mexican border?”

President Trump received what press accounts are calling a “rebuke” from the House of Representatives on his emergency border security declaration. The House voted Tuesday to terminate the border emergency, which would scrap Trump’s plans to build a wall there without Congressional funding. 

While Trump has threatened a veto if the Senate passes a similar bill — a veto that likely can’t be overturned by Congress — he may also face court challenges on his emergency declaration.

How do growers feel about the wall? What do importers think about the border wall?

I asked several farm and industry groups how they feel about the border wall.


Western Growers said they have not offered any official statement on the border wall. 

The Texas Farm Bureau said this: 

Texas Farm Bureau supports securing U.S. borders as a matter of vital importance to national security. Farm Bureau policy calls for securing U.S. borders, including using “fencing or other barriers” where possible on the United States-Mexico border. This should be done in a way that has minimal impact on agricultural producers and compensates landowners at fair market value.

Farm Bureau policy favors the use of advanced technology to protect the borders. These methods include electronic and aerial surveillance by manned or unmanned vehicles. Farm Bureau supports virtual fencing across agricultural lands where a physical fence is not practical. Texas Farm Bureau delegates recommended more attention to the technological aspects of border security at the organization’s most recent annual meeting. 

Texas Farm Bureau is very concerned about eminent domain takings to acquire land for construction of a physical barrier. Farmers, ranchers and other landowners must be treated fairly in any taking as called for in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Many border farmers and ranchers are concerned that large portions of their property might be stranded on the southern side of a barrier with little or no access.

Farm Bureau believes all available tools and technologies should be considered in the vital task of securing our borders. 

The Texas International Produce Association said this:


“Anytime additional federal resources are dedicated to improving the efficiency of trade operations at the border, the Texas International Produce Association is appreciative and supportive. Texas is the domestic production point and first point-of-arrival for over $7B of fresh produce, a figure that continues to grow every year. Our region needs the additional resources, especially for our ports-of-entry.

Regarding the construction of the border wall, TIPA does have its concerns about dedicating $8B of federal resources to that specific project. South Texas is not like the areas of CA, AZ or NM where the largest sections of the border wall exists today. In South Texas, current construction plans call for building the wall along a levee system on the US side of the border, which is anywhere from ½ mile to several miles away from the Rio Grande river. Thus, the wall would be separating America from America, and it would likely require the government appropriate US farmland along the river for the space needed to build that wall. It would mean taking away resources from our American farmers and further decreasing the number of viable farming acres in our region.

We support border security and the dedication of resources necessary to do so. However, we would like to see the administration take a different approach to the issue, perhaps something more in line with Congressman Hurd’s suggestions for a security plan using technology to gain operational control of the border, especially for this region.
It is the hope of TIPA that the U.S. administration also look beyond just the border security issue, and address a hand-in-hand - immigration. Speaking specifically to agriculture, the labor shortage affects many of our growers in Texas, and we would very much like to see a focused effort be made to put in place a guest worker program sufficient in size to meet labor needs, easy enough for all sizes of employers to utilize, and nimble enough to allow workers the ability to move legally between employers & crops during the seasonal changes.

 

The South Texas Property Rights Association recently issued a statement here.


Meanwhile, Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said concertina wire has been put up at the border wall in downtown Nogales, Ariz., the crossing point for so much Mexican fresh produce.

“The perception that it creates in the whole country is that Nogales is a dangerous place and bad things are happening here and that is the farthest from the truth,” he said. “It is a very safe place; there are so much border patrol and customs (officers) - no one tries to do anything violent and it would be crazy for mass groups to cross in Nogales.”

Jungmeyer money spent on the wall or razor wire in Nogales is a misplaced resource. “They should be spending money on technology at ports of entry instead of putting up wire, and they should be investing and having border patrol at the border instead of Tucson.”

“I would say that the issue of the wall from a purely practical matter is not affecting the trade but in terms of misplaced resources, in terms of buyers who might come to visit Nogales who now all of a sudden think it’s a dangerous place, I’m not going to go - I think that is a negative message.”


TK: Border security and the border wall are hot button issues for Trump voters, but growers and importers in border states have plenty of misgivings about the president’s current approach. While President Trump has big support among growers for his efforts to roll back regulations, he should listen to ag industry critics who plead for a complete immigration reform solution, not the hard edge of enforcement only.
 

 
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