ANLA urges action on immigration - American Nurseryman Magazine - Horticulture Magazine and Horticulture Books - ANLA urges action on immigration

ANLA urges action on immigration

4/1/2013

From the American Nursery & Landscape Association:

Congress is seriously considering tackling comprehensive immigration reform. However, as lawmakers headed home in late March for a two-week spring recess, bipartisan working groups in both the Senate and House had failed to achieve breakthroughs on how to handle future legal immigration and visa options, especially for jobs that require little formal education. 

Meanwhile, anti-immigration groups are mobilizing to oppose any and all reforms. While the political climate and momentum for reform are stronger this year, Congress needs to hear from business, faith, law enforcement, and similar voices who support fixing a broken system that is not serving our national interest. Please take action now, while Congress is at home. Send a customized message to your two U.S. Senators and your Representative in the House. Also, by clicking on the Elected Officials tab, you can enter your zip code and look up your Senators and Representatives' local district office phone numbers. Take an extra few moments to call, and simply urge that when lawmakers return to Washington, they get the job done. Pass an immigration reform bill, this spring!

Background

Bipartisan working groups in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are negotiating immigration reform legislation that would address border security, employment eligibility verification, earned legal status for qualifying unauthorized immigrants, and improved legal immigration options for the future for both skilled, highly educated workers, as well as economic sectors with jobs that require little formal education. Special provisions for agricultural employers and workers are also being considered.

While these working groups are close to the goal line, labor unions are exerting their influence to constrain future legal visa programs. This is a huge problem, as better legal work visa options are part of the solution to preventing future illegal immigration. In fact, the lack of improved visa options as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 set the stage for the illegal immigration problem Congress is now struggling to resolve. To illustrate, in agriculture alone, an estimated 70% of the labor force is believed to be unauthorized, while four percent or fewer of agricultural workers are entering legally through the dysfunctional H-2A program. Imagine where we would be if the 1986 legislation had provided a legal, regulated, yet market-based agricultural worker program!
A balanced approach needs to take into account each aspect of the problem:  secure borders, integrity in the hiring process, future legal immigration and visa options, and a resolution for otherwise law-abiding immigrants who have become part of our society. Take a moment now to tell Congress to get it done, and get it done right.