• Not all immigrant farm workers are illegal. Our policy is intended to oppose laws that might discriminate against farm workers who are legally in this country.
Farm Bureau supports efforts to control the borders of the United States, and nothing in our policy supports illegal immigration or amnesty. Georgia Farm Bureau does not endorse illegal activity of any kind.
There has been confusion about our policy in which we oppose “any immigration law that discriminates against the farm worker and puts the farmers of Georgia at a disadvantage to farmers in other states.” Not all immigrant farm workers are illegal. Our policy is intended to oppose laws that might discriminate against farm workers who are legally in this country.
Georgia Farm Bureau maintains that enforcement of immigration laws and border security is a responsibility of the federal government and reform of the law is a high priority. The federal government has failed to live up to its responsibility and that must change. We call on the U.S. Congress to secure the borders of the United States and sufficiently fund the effort so that illegal immigration can be controlled. At the same time, our laws should ensure that when domestic workers are not available for jobs in agriculture, farmers should have access to a workable program.
Farm jobs are difficult, often seasonal and migratory, and that makes these jobs hard to fill. We believe any immigration policy must include a more effective temporary worker program for agriculture so that workers can legally come into this country, perform these jobs, and return home. The ability of the United States to grow its own food is a national security issue.
Our concern with Georgia immigration legislation stems from the fact that legal immigrants might be fearful of working in Georgia if the state is seen as anti-immigrant. If immigrant labor were to avoid the state of Georgia, there would be major economic consequences within large segments of agriculture.
We encourage the state of Georgia to assist farmers to obtain legal workers instead of threatening them with fines and imprisonment because of the federal government’s failure to handle its responsibility. This problem is a failure of government, not a failure of employers.
Farm Bureau members live in every community in the state. They serve as mayors, county commissioners, school board members, and in countless other capacities. We recognize the difficulties surrounding this issue. We realize that schools, medical facilities, and government entities are being strained. Georgia Farm Bureau is willing to work with elected officials to assist in developing a program that addresses the immigration issue while minimizing negative economic consequences to Georgia’s economy.
For more from the Georgia Farm Bureau please visit http://www.gfb.org.