In a recent question and answer session with farm broadcasters from across the country that took place in Kansas City, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed the progress of a workable policy for migrant farm workers:
“I don’t think we’re that much closer. There has been a proposal called E-verify which the agricultural family and community is not particularly excited about because it would be a layer of responsibility and burden that we could not actually meet, it could create real problems with our producers. And so, fortunately, I think ag groups are committed to saying in very loud and no uncertain terms that that’s not going to work for us.”
Vilsack had a strong opinion as to where the problems lie with getting the problem resolved:
“This debate is one in which folks on both sides attempt to use this for political purposes, and they use it to divide us as people. They use it to create fear and anxiety.”
Vilsack offered this solution:
“And what has to happen with immigration is that folks in congress have to stand up with political spine, and they have to understand that this is an issue that has to be addressed, we have a broken system. And part of it is fixing the border, part of it is also fixing the system, and that system has got to be comprehensive. And the reason you have to have spine to do it is because there’s going to be folks back home that are want to divide and scare people because of it. We’re no further along, and the day we will be further along is when folks stand up and say ‘I don’t care what the political consequences are I’m going to go back home and talk about this. That doesn’t scare people, and says you elected me to fix problems and I’m going to fix this problem and we need it for American agriculture.’ We cannot have crops rotting in the ground, and sadly and unfortunately, in some parts of our country that’s happening today.”
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on immigration reform and seasonal migrant farm workers.