Ag Commissioners Call for Immigration Reform
Friday, June 15th, 2012
A call for immigration reform by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and his counterparts across the country is the latest sign that the issue is again receiving serious consideration.
Staples, a Republican, is spearheading the proposal by agriculture commissioners from 15 southern states and territories that asks for more legal workers and a path to “conditional status” for immigrants here illegally. The group includes Alabama and Georgia, whose agriculture industries have suffered labor shortages in the wake of stringent immigration laws.
The Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture is asking for increased border security and improved methods to verify workers' legal status. But it's also calling for immediately expanding guest worker programs and making it easier for immigrants to obtain visas.
“If we do not have the necessary workforce, our agricultural economy suffers,” Staples said.
Staples chaired a committee for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to develop an immigration and border security policy. The results were ratified by the southern states this week and later this year will be presented to the national group and eventually Congress, he said.