Midwest Grower Voices Concern About Immigration Reform

The Northwest Herald of McHenry County in Illinois reports some area farmers are requesting immigration reforms that could improve the agriculture community’s ability to fill jobs by providing a larger pool of potential hires.

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“It was difficult for us to get local labour,” said Harry Alten, Harvard, IL farmer. “That filled the void.”

Farmers have long had to look outside the area’s local employee pool for farmhands. Even during a stingy job market, domestic workers are reluctant to take the inglorious jobs in tough conditions.

Without reform, experts say the segments will shrink.

Nielsen would like to see two kinds of reform. First, the farm bureau calls for changes to the seasonal work visa system – currently called the H-2A visa – which farmers say takes too long and is bogged down by loads of paperwork. The program should be run by the USDA, not the Department of Labour, Nielsen said.

Second, Nielsen said, the farm bureau wants current undocumented workers to have a chance to “pay a fine” and “come clean.”

“Give them an opportunity to come out of the shadows,” Nielsen said. “And if they’re willing to work in agriculture for a certain amount of time, give them a chance to become eligible to get a green card down the road.”

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Source: Northwest Herald July 6, 2014

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Avatar for highwaybum highwaybum says:

Undocumented workers have been doing agricultural labor for many years; now they should be penalized for that! Seriously, if it weren’t for the workers the American people would not have USA grown food on their tables at a very cheap price compared to other countries. Maybe the time will come when American’s will be forced to fill their cupboards and refrigerators with imported food.at very high prices.Talk about concern for food safety, freshness, and the pocketbook. That will be a whole new ball game. If American’s are opposed to foreign workers doing work in agriculture, possibly those same people should get a job themselves in agriculture; food doesn’t magically jump out of the field into the kitchen for free!

Avatar for Matt Matt says:

How about we say the same about shoplifters or those that steal? If only there was path for them to stop committing crimes.

The simple point is that those that are here illegally are committing many crimes, not the least of which include:

– Fraud
They are not allowed to legally work in this country so they lie about their legal status. They steal the identity of other people.

– Theft
They are benefitting form the social services in this country that legal immigrants and citizens are paying taxes to provide. They don’t make enough money as low wage earners so they use taxpayer funded assistance that is supposed to be provided to citizens who are on hard times.

– Human Trafficking
Many illegal Aliens are actively helping others to cross the border illegally. This is human trafficking and is illegal in every country around the world.

This push for “immigration reform” is seen by almost everyone as simply a way to exploit low wage, low skilled workers. If they can not be paid a wage that they can live on, then the jobs are taxpayer subsidized and should not exist.

I am a small farmer and grow local produce in the Midwest. Labor IS available. You have to pay a decent wage to obtain it.

If you want to push for anything, then how about coming out and asking the government to subsidize food production more than it does already? That would be more honest than trying to cloak the exploitation of foreign labor with non-livable wages as “Immigration Reform”