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Immigration Reform Keeping Ag Industry's Attention

American Farm Bureau, industry groups sign letter of support to House on immigration reform

Published on: Jul 31, 2013

More than 400 industry and advocacy groups, including the American Farm Bureau, Tuesday signed on to a letter of support for immigration legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The letter, addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, was signed by groups representing agriculture, housing, retail, tourism, hospitality, technology, engineering, manufacturing and finance industries, among others.

Groups said the proposed policies in the legislation would bring reforms to an "outdated, broken immigration system." The current immigration policies have been in effect for more than 30 years.

American Farm Bureau, industry groups sign letter of support to House on immigration reform
American Farm Bureau, industry groups sign letter of support to House on immigration reform

"We deal with an immigration system that is now in its third decade and completely incapable of being responsive to an ever-changing national economy and hypercompetitive global marketplace," the groups wrote. "Today, the problems with our immigration system have grown and multiplied to become an emerging threat to the current and future productivity, ingenuity and competitiveness of key sectors of our economy."

Groups said if done right, the reform would come at a critical time for American economic recovery, protecting and complimenting the current U.S. workforce and generating greater productivity, new innovations, products, businesses and jobs.

The groups reiterated key points from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack's Monday conference call, during which he said a lack of labor without immigration reform will result in decreased agricultural production, and therefore fewer agricultural outputs and exports.

Despite the push from Vilsack – and the support from industry groups – some lawmakers remain skeptical of provisions in the bill that they say provide amnesty to immigrants here illegally.

However, it appears that donors to the GOP are attempting to strengthen support for the immigration bill, as evidenced by a July 30 letter to House Republicans from the advocacy group Republicans for Immigration Reform, which they note: "Standing in the way of reform ensures that we perpetuate a broken system that stifles our economy … and risk a long-lasting perception that Republicans would rather see nothing done than pass needed reform."

The New York Times reports that the letter marks the beginning of a campaign to promote immigration reform as lawmakers return home for August recess.

A key message from both letters was the effect of consequences if action is not taken.

"We can't afford to be content and watch a generation-old immigration system work more and more against our overall national interest," AFBF and industry groups said. "Instead, we urge Congress to remain mindful of the clear benefits to our economy if we succeed, and work together and with us to achieve real, pro-growth immigration reform."

Story Tags: usda, Farm Bureau, AFBF

Add Comment
  1. TxTumbleweed says:

    Dear Mr/Ms Staff, I noticed you followed your normal MO of failing to report both sides of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform argument. As I have asked before, are you Executive Branch cheerleaders, or are you journalist? Farm Bureau and this new "RINO" group promoting amnesty are WRONG! We have a town full of Reagan Amnesty immigrants who have refused to assimilate en masse. They learned the entitlement ropes and retired or learned to work "off the books", for cash at menial jobs, within ten years of becoming American "citizens". They and their offspring are not interested in doing farm jobs at any wage - interferes with their pop culture absorption schedule. WHY would anyone think ten years worth of labor out of a new crop of them would be worth the drag they will be on our economy after most of them retire as entitlement louts at 30 years of age? The current regime is manipulating current immigration law in order to create a problem, which they reason will force ag sectors needing menial labor into championing their uber-Liberal, Leftist agenda. It is working. We are being subtly manipulated to clamor for our own demise. Read this If you can't see those of us living in the hinterlands are being horsewhipped by USDA's Vilsack, you aren't listening to the words of his speeches. USDA wishes to do away with "direct payments" to farmers, but the ag dept budget won't shrink proportionally. They plan to pour that money into rural communities in the form of cheap housing, as well as numerous services designed to make life more pleasant for the non-working entitlement class. With this proposed influx of new citizens, we who reside in rural America are being colonized with future low info, anti-capitalist voters who will "transform" this nation into our Executive Branch's vision of utopia. WHY would we entrepreneurs in the ag sector be so foolish to be duped to champion such an effort? A Pew poll done in May found that only 32% of Hispanics view capitalism positively, while 44% view socialism positively. If your goal is to usurp the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights just import a slew of pro-socialist low info indiscriminate breeders.