Congress must make a national guest worker program that’s easier for farmers to use now that states including Georgia have passed laws targeting illegal immigrants that threaten possible labor shortages in the fields, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner said Tuesday.
Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black’s main recommendation came in a report that lawmakers required his office to produce last year when they joined with Arizona, Alabama and other states in passing harsh laws targeting illegal immigrants. Georgia’s main farm lobbying groups opposed the move, arguing that immigration should be left to the federal government and that a crackdown would scare away migrant workers needed to harvest crops in the state’s largest economic sector.
Its main recommendation echoes longtime complaints from farmers who have called the federal guest worker program unwieldy and expensive, a criticism that became more urgent once state governments launched crackdowns on illegal immigrants. If lawmakers hoped that Black’s report would contain easy fixes to smooth over concerns from the agriculture industry, they will be largely disappointed.
“The only answer lies in the prospects of a 21st century guest worker program at the federal level that meets the needs of all types of agricultural enterprises,” Black said at a news conference. [CBS News]
From Border Patrol Agent To Immigration Reform Activist: My Journey For Justice by John Randolf
In my twenty-six years as a US Border Patrol/ICE Agent, I caught many people. At the time, common sense told me that the vast majority of the people who I caught were good, hard working people. I began to wonder why immigrants had to be chased like animals, and why I was being paid to chase them. [Huffington Post]
At a time when states such as Alabama and Arizona push for tougher immigration laws, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has launched a hotline for detainees who “may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime.”
ICE wants to “ensure that individuals being held by state or local law enforcement on immigration detainers are properly notified about their potential removal from the country and are made aware of their rights,” according to a press release. [Huffington Post]