Local News

State Farmers Say They Support U.S. Immigration Reform

Posted May 31, 2007
Updated June 1, 2007

— An immigration reform initiative currently being discussed in the United States Senate isn't perfect, but it is needed to keep the agriculture industry afloat, North Carolina farmers said Thursday.

Without it, they said, farmers could lose $260 million a year.

Leaders with the North Carolina State Farm Bureau say they believe it will streamline the process of immigrants getting temporary work visas.

"This bill, as in any piece of legislation, is not perfect, but it's the only game in town," Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten said during a news conference to announce the launch of a campaign in support of the comprehensive reform legislation.

"And if we fail to move this forward, it could be years before we ever have this sensible discussion again," he said.

In part, the bill would give temporary legal status to millions of unlawful immigrants, provided they came forward, paid a fine and undergo criminal background checks. To apply for a green card, they would have to pay another fine, learn English, return to their home country and wait in line.

The plan also would create a guest worker program. It would allow foreign laborers to come to the U.S. for temporary stints, yet with no guarantee they can eventually gain citizenship.

Farmers say the current system is tedious and costly. As a result, they cannot always get the help they need in timely manner.

"There is not a person that I know of that needs a good fresh-cut Christmas tree on December 26th," said Christmas tree grower Pat Gaskin.

The Bureau says fear and misinformation have fueled opponents of the bill, some who are concerned the U.S. is not going to be able to handle an influx of immigrants.

"The biggest thing that people are afraid of -- they think this bill is amnesty, that 12 million people, overnight, are going to be legal residents," Wooten said. "And nothing could be further from the truth."


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  • Tbell67 Jun 2, 2007

    hhmmm aquamama..I am an american born and raised in the great state of NC...and I shop at Walmart...does that mean I am a have-not? what does shopping at walmart have to do with it..I work my butt off and I can't afford to shop at Sears or some of those other stores...but noone is better than I am....So I think that was a bit wrong of you to say...dont worry...apology accepted ... :oÞ

  • lollly52 Jun 2, 2007

    @steve crisp. Gas, smokes, and other sin taxes distort the average. But his might help you prove your point.

    "Some taxes are inadvertently hidden, but others are consciously designed that way to disguise the cost of government. It’s easy to see why: the total U.S. tax burden is equal to 56 percent of annual personal consumption spending. If Americans recognized this high level of taxation, there might well be a second American Revolution. "

    search engine "Full Text IPI Policy Report - # 160" if the url will not work.

    PS. I agree. I'd happily pay more for food and less for social nets and social costs of illegal immigration.

  • richard2 Jun 2, 2007

    Cheap labor that puts money in your pocket today will not make a great nation for your gran childern and their children to live in.

  • tmedlin Jun 2, 2007

    We need to start holding our local officials accountable. I for one, will find out who is going to support and enforce our EXISTING immigration laws. If an elected official isn't committed to that, I will make it my mission to find someone who is, and vote that person INTO office. In the meantime, secure the borders first, deport the 600,000 already mandated by the courts to be deported. Then back an 18-wheeler up to the Fuquay flea market every weekend, load it up and take them back to the border. Won't take but a couple of weekends doing that, for the illegals to get the message - we don't want you here unless you belong here legally. Farmers' crops will be picked when they start paying a living wage. They have been the enablers of this travesty, all the while living on what amounts to corporate welfare, in the form of price supports.
    And stop the FREE entitlements!That will REALLY help with the problem.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 1, 2007

    I will be happy to pay more for food (and clothing and housecleaning and furniture) if we get rid of the same low cost laborers who also drag in disease, poverty, illiteracy, crime, and ten thousand children with them.

    By the way, I once read that over 50 percent of the retail cost of any item is the result of taxes and tariffs applied at all levels from extraction of raw materials to the sale of finished product in stores. Anyone see that and remember the reference?

  • bananaboy Jun 1, 2007

    no legal citizenship, no rights. get out and stop coming here.

  • aquamama Jun 1, 2007

    dpulc: Maybe if those employers PAID anything CLOSE to a living wage, people would want to work there!!! I would! It all boils down to corporate greed- the haves keeping it all and the have-nots making up more than 50% of this country. The have-nots are then forced to shop at places like Wal-Mart because they cannot afford anywhere else. It's a downward spiral with no end in sight.
    But seriously, what DID they do?

  • just saying Jun 1, 2007

    Close the borders... Find out who is here... Deport undesirables... Setup the worker programs or path to citizenship if they want to become citizens. Big busniess' and farmers want this bill because it does nothing to end the flow of illegals coming into the country. The illegals are where the cheap labor is and that is what they want!!

  • Pebbles Jun 1, 2007

    I say close all borders, build a wall and use what we got for 5 years.

  • romex Jun 1, 2007

    the American people need to stand up and protest to deport all illegal immigrants and deport bush with them. and vote the rest of congress out of office that are for this bill. and then take and fine people who work them $50,000.00 a head .and business owners 50,000.00 a head and take thair business license.they would go back to mexico that would be a good bill.........