Today’s Topic: SASDA seeks immigration reform

By on July 10, 2012

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn parts of Arizona’s immigration law has brought the issue of foreign agricultural labor back to the forefront. Prior to the court’s ruling, the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture took its own action on immigration reform.

SASDA members adopted a plan for immigration reform at their annual meeting in June. The Border Security and Legal Workforce Reform policy was originally authored by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. Now that SASDA has adopted the policy, members can take it to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Troxler said the goal is to reform NASDA’s policy guidance to Congress on border security and workforce. NASDA will consider the policy at its meeting in September.

The policy adopted by SASDA has several provisions. They include:

  • Asking Congress to implement a Penalty-Not-Pardon policy for persons without proper authorization to live and work in the U.S.
  • Existing persons without authorization who want to live and work in the U.S. should first obtain a conditional status under strict requirements. They should come forward, report and pay a considerable fine. They also should demonstrate verifiable employment or be enrolled in a qualified training program or higher education institution. And they should submit to a criminal background check.
  • The federal government should ensure adequate infrastructure is in place along the U.S. border to facilitate the legal movement of people and goods at international ports of entry.
  • Employers and businesses should have access to an improved and reliable E-Verify or comparable identification system. The system should be able to reduce burdens on employers and their role in enforcing immigration laws.
  • Citizenship requirements should not be changed.

Commissioner Troxler says that in addition to the items above, the agricultural community should continue to urge Congress to reform the federal H-2A guest worker program.

Click below to listen to the Commissioner and Rhonda discuss the continuing need for immigration reform.

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