Feb 10, 2012

Immigration Politics: Farmers still fighting for immigrant guest-worker program

MiamiHerald.com: "California and Southern farmers renewed their case Thursday for some kind of an agricultural guest-worker program, but they're sailing against the wind. ... the farmers this year face excruciatingly long odds as they seek a guest-worker goal that's eluded them since at least 1995. Still, they lobby on.

"You have to be optimistic, don't you?" said Modesto, Calif.-area farmer Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. "Stranger things have happened." Wenger joined H. Lee Wicker, deputy director of the North Carolina Growers Association, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black in urging a House panel to overhaul an existing worker visa program and boost farmers' access to foreign labor. Without the fix, they say, growers' problems will proliferate.

"Experience shows us there is no realistic prospect of a domestic work force for agriculture," Wenger told the House subcommittee on immigration policy and enforcement. "We in California have learned the hard way that few Americans seek agricultural jobs."" read more

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