Stallman, Vilsack Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Washington--Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and AFBF President Bob Stallman held a conference call with reporters Wednesday during which they called for comprehensive immigration reform that would not just focus on enforcement. “From an agricultural perspective, our piece of comprehensive immigration reform is to be sure that we have an adequate agricultural workforce, and that's a top priority for our organization,” Stallman said.
The AFBF president said Farm Bureau supports legislative efforts to reform current temporary worker programs. “We need new, innovative approaches like programs where biometric identities can be provided to workers who want to come across this border to work, to create greater economic opportunity for themselves and frankly to do the jobs that American workers will not do,” Stallman said. Vilsack said immigrant labor plays an important role in America’s role as a producer of high quality, affordable food. “Every time someone in America takes a bite of American food, someone has picked it, processed it, shipped it, stored it, trucked it and shelved it. And many of these folks who have done all those tasks are immigrants. I met farmers and ranchers all over this country who worry about the broken immigration system. They’re unable to find the necessary number of farm workers and sometimes they struggle to verify their work authorization papers, all the while wondering if they'll get enough help for the next harvest,” Vilsack said.