Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 15, 2013 – The agricultural industry is still hopeful that 2013 is the year for immigration reform.
“Despite the kick in the teeth the farming industry got last year, they are still optimistic something can get done this year in terms of addressing immigration reform. In fact, comprehensive immigration reform is at the very top of their list, and for good reasons,” stated Larry S. Rifkin, a Miami immigration lawyer and managing partner at Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
It remains vitally important that the produce industry have enough labor to take of the yearly crops. No labor. No crops. No crops, higher food prices and food scarcity. Even though there are many that say undocumented labor takes jobs from Americans, the hard fact is that if Americans did want seasonal farm labor jobs, they would be out there working in the fields. They are not.
The produce industry is starting to lobby lawmakers that understand their lack of labor issue and who want to help the industry sustain and maintain a legal workforce. Without the certainty of a stable workforce, the whole industry is in an uproar. “While it may be difficult to think of farming labor issues impacting on what you serve for supper, the fact is immigration reform and lack of food without immigrants to work the fields are inextricably linked,” Rifkin pointed out.
If the news is to be believed, Obama, who is still stating the time for immigration reform is now, wanted to start pushing immigration reform before budget battles and debt ceilings took over center stage. “He rather missed the boat on that one,” said Rifkin, “but since the fiscal cliff was staved off for a time, perhaps immigration reform can be worked on now.”
If push comes to shove, the optimal time for immigration reform is the first half of the year, in order to address the issues facing the agricultural industry, and prepare for another crop year. Any comprehensive immigration reform bill would have to include a nod to the workers who sustain the nation’s food supply.
“Other issues facing the industry include how health care reform affects coverage of seasonal workers, food-safety rules, cuts to federal feeding programs and altered commodity subsidies. However, the one thing that holds it all together is immigration reform. You can’t have one without the others; like dominoes,” Rifkin added.
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