Brad and Kay Hollabaugh of Hollabaugh Bros., Inc. in Biglerville, PA, have become well-spoken advocates for the apple industry, not just in their own state, but beyond. Last year, both Brad and Kay provided their own arguments for why comprehensive immigration reform is vital to the future of the American fruit industry.
Late last year, the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania published an essay written by Brad Hollabaugh that outlined a common-sense approach to the topic. Among his many points, Brad noted that, “Should the politics of the day result in America abandoning agriculture in favor of implementing restrictive immigration policies that have no transitory worker solutions, there will be a massive collapse in our food system. We all want a safe food supply. But the security of our nation lies in our ability to feed our nation. Jeopardizing our ability to feed ourselves is diametrically opposed to the intent of securing our borders.”
To read Brad’s entire essay, click here.
Meanwhile, in August, Kay Hollabaugh testified before the Pennsylvania Senate against a proposed state E-Verify bill. She noted that, “The E-Verify program has proven to be flawed. Simple reading of what has happened in Arizona should make that painfully clear. Unauthorized workers are slipping through, while U.S. citizens are being flagged as illegal. How can we possibly think that this is a system that is working? As a small business owner, this is yet the next piece of legislation that causes further paperwork and more man hours for the management of our business. We are already stretched painfully thin simply keeping up with the mountains of paperwork and regulations that already exist. Further, if we are required to use the E-Verify system and if our workers are found to be undocumented, where is the work force that is ready to step to the plate to harvest our fruits and vegetables? They do not exist. If our workers are found to be undocumented and they are taken away, we will no longer be able to harvest our crops. If you are scared of immigrant laborers, just wait until we have to be at the mercy of other countries to obtain our food. Now that’s scary.”
Look for more analysis from other industry leaders in an upcoming issue of American/Western Fruit Grower.