TX Ag Commissioner Declares War on the Border

"Lately it seems that Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples would rather have the Texas Department of Agriculture become a wing of the U.S. Department of Defense than a Texas state agency. Not long ago, Staples commissioned an $80,000 “strategic military assessment” of the Texas...

Georgia's Ag. chief estimates millions in losses from immigration law

"The impact of Georgia's illegal immigration law approaches nearly $150 million in losses, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black testified Tuesday in Washington." WXIA-TV, Oct. 4, 2011 .

How Georgia’s Anti-Immigration Law Could Hurt the State’s (and the Nation’s) Economy

"What will the effects of Georgia’s anti-immigrant law be on the state? It is true that putting an exact figure on economic losses is difficult with the remarkable diversity of agricultural products, seasonal cycles, and size and sophistication of farming in Georgia. But we already...

Answer to immigration crisis? "Quit eating."

Crops are rotting in the fields because farmers can't find enough workers to harvest them. Even legal immigrants are not showing up for jobs at construction sites and poultry plants because, agriculture and industry officials say, they fear a hostile state climate. ... Smith said he has four...

Immigration reform tops public policy issues for growers, packers

"The stakes are rising and tempers are flaring in the immigration debate. As much of the agricultural community seeks to avoid a mandatory E-Verify law without a suitable guest worker program for agriculture, economists with the American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C., have estimated...

Farmers Fear E-Verify Could Devastate American Agriculture

"E-Verify's opponents contend the system will destroy agribusiness by driving up costs, shrinking the workforce, and wreaking havoc on food production. When Hollabaugh hears a legislator say E-Verify will save American jobs for Americans, "I just want to throttle him," she...

The High Cost of Anti-Immigrant Laws

"Farmwork is the worst combination of subpoverty wages; dangerous, backbreaking work; and near-total absence of labor protections or benefits. Few aspire to do farmwork, as Georgia’s growers just found out the hard way. But the good news is, although most produce growers operate on...

Test fails to replace immigrant laborers with U.S. citizens in Alabama

"Jerry Spencer had an idea after Alabama’s tough new law against illegal immigration scared Hispanic workers out of the tomato fields northeast of Birmingham: Recruit unemployed U.S. citizens to do the work, give them free transportation and pay them to pick the fruit and clean the...

More California employers (except growers) using E-Verify

"For all the companies in the state joining E-Verify, however, hundreds of thousands have not, and agriculture is among the least represented industries, according to a list of E-Verify users obtained by this newspaper." - S an Jose Mercury News, Oct. 29, 2011 .

Pass E-Verify, but fail to work

"Though the U.S. unemployment rate is stalled above 9 percent, business owners such as Lemkes say few native-born workers are willing to do tough jobs, leading employers to hire immigrants. 'Those who want to work fail to pass E-Verify, and those that pass fail to work,' he says."...

Field Maneuvers

"[G]rowers say a federal E-Verify mandate would leave crops rotting in the fields. It’s a scenario that’s playing out now in Alabama as sweet potato season picks up in the wake of a restrictive state immigration law passed in June. The rule is being challenged by the feds, but...

What is the risk of getting caught?

"ICE is focusing its effort on critical infrastructure, public safety and border security. In other words, agriculture isn't explicitly a priority for ICE. 'And they are right,' a vegetable farmer in Virginia said of ICE's approach. 'How much threat is some cucumber pickers?'...

New immigration laws could hit farmers, drive up food prices

"The effect of tougher immigration laws in Georgia and Alabama has been immediate. Georgia economists estimate that their state lost $75 million from its $578 million agriculture industry as berries, bell peppers, squash, cucumbers, watermelons and the state’s famed Vidalia onions were...

Georgia Ag. Comm.: Congress must fix immigration system

"Congress must make a national guest worker program that's easier for farmers to use now that states including Georgia have passed laws targeting [unauthorized] immigrants that threaten possible labor shortages in the fields, Georgia's agriculture commissioner said Tuesday." ...

Kansas AgSec seeks federal waiver for undoc. farm laborers

"There is little optimism Congress will sort out the politics of immigration anytime soon, but Rodman met several times with officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about launching a pilot program in Kansas. The idea is to place employers and undocumented immigrants in a special...

American Agriculture Outsourcing to Mexico

"As the economy boomed in the mid- 2000s, many immigrants in southern California’s border country spurned field work in favor of construction and food-service jobs. Then they stopped coming to U.S. farms altogether. So Larry Cox, who farms lettuce, cantaloupes and onions on 3,500 acres...

Kobach Flunks Farm Facts 101: Forbes

"Here you have a man who is going around the country helping others on the far right design laws to harass illegal immigrants out of the country, and he seems entirely unfamiliar with the industries that are going to be affected. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense that such an extreme...

House Hearing: Agricultural Labor: From H-2A to a Workable Agricultural Guestworker Program

Tuesday 2/26/2013 - 2:00 p.m.

Congressionals Agree on Need to Rework H-2A Agricultural Worker Visa Program

"Republicans and Democrats said Tuesday that farmers should be allowed to hire foreign workers more easily as Congress reworks U.S. immigration laws. But there was some disagreement on how it should happen. Lawmakers and witnesses at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing said the visa program that...

White House: Immigration Bill Would Boost Agriculture, Rural Communities

"Immigration legislation pending in Congress would create jobs in rural communities and increase exports of fruits, vegetables and other products, the Obama administration said Monday as it tried turn up the heat on Republican opponents of the bill. In a White House report issued Monday , the administration...

Gauging the Farm Sector’s Sensitivity to Immigration Reform via Changes in Labor Costs and Availability

Gauging the Farm Sector’s Sensitivity to Immigration Reform via Changes in Labor Costs and Availability : "This report describes the extent of the farm sector’s dependence on undocumented workers and the political, economic, and social forces that shaped this growing dependence since...

Farm Bill Mandates Immigration Checks for Food Stamps

H.R. 2642 / Public Law 113-79, Agriculture Act of 2014 , Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 649 TITLE IV--NUTRITION Subtitle A--Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program * * * SEC. 4015. MANDATING STATE IMMIGRATION VERIFICATION. Section 11 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2020) is amended by striking...

Lacking Agricultural Visas, Growers Blame GOP

"When Chuck Herrin, who runs a large farm labor contracting company, looks out at the hundreds of workers he hires each year to tend to the countless rows of asparagus, grapes, tomatoes, peaches and plums, he often seethes in frustration. It is not that he has any trouble with the laborers. It is...