Good Fruit Grower

November 2011

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Page 25 of 47

GOOD POINT Mike Gempler, Washington Growers League Reforming immigration It must be comprehensive to work. need, and it's not as if there isn't a solution. After 15 years of effort and conflict over immigration reform, labor- intensive agricultural producers in the United States still face harvest without assurance of an adequate work force. An estimated 70 percent of their laborers use false employment documents, and fewer of these workers are available as the federal government increases border enforcement and I-9 audits; state and local governments pass E-Verify laws; drug gangs try to control illegal bor- der crossings; Congress pushes towards a federal E-Ver- ify requirement; and the domestic work force continues to decline seasonal fieldwork jobs. The need is clear, and the solutions are apparent: agriculture needs its existing work force legalized as a bridge to a new, long-term guest-worker program. But what about the bigger U.S. immigration reform I picture? It's not just about agriculture, but the entire U.S. economy. It's about social costs, unemployment, law enforcement, social justice, and politics—lots of politics. There are some angry, vocal people out there, and many of them use illegal immigration as a scapegoat for t is time for the fed- eral government to act. It's not as if Congress doesn't know there is a America's troubles. The atmosphere has become so poi- soned that public office holders and candidates have felt safe making inappropriate statements about undocu- mented workers, even to the point of condoning vio- lence. And the "enforcement-only" fervor has pushed comprehensive immigration reform, a concept that got 53 votes in the Senate in 2007, to the "back burner." Enforcement only won't work That's unfortunate, because it will not work and it draws legislators' attention from legislation that will. Instead, a comprehensive immigration bill should be moving forward in Congress, one that provides increased enforcement and a workable E-Verify system. But, to work, it must also provide legalization for many of the undocumented workers already contributing to our work force. And it should fix the inequities in current immigration law as well as the onerous problems with the current H-2A guest-worker program. The adoption of E-Verify would significantly lower the use of false documents (the weakest point in current immigration law) and change the pattern of illegal immigration. No longer would it be easy just to cross the border, buy documents, and get a job. But the United States also needs to protect and feed its economy. We need to make it easier for people to get work authoriza- tion when jobs are open and Americans aren't taking them. Currently, we make it impossible. Most agricul- tural workers who are undocumented are unable to qualify for any kind of legal status, and there is no way for them to become qualified. Our country also needs to deal fairly with the millions of people who have lived and worked here illegally, who have become a part of our economy, created wealth for our country, and are part of our culture. Only the most extreme argue that we should round up 12 million peo- ple and deport them, but even less strident immigration enforcement advocates want to make life difficult enough for them that they leave on their own. Certainly, we should find and deport the illegal immi- grants who are criminals and deadbeats, but the people who have worked, paid taxes, and grown our economy should at least be given an opportunity to pay a reasonable penalty and then qualify for legal status. And amnesty isn't just a Latino, proimmigration stance either. The Wall Street Journal, a bellwether of business community thought, has been particularly strong in voicing the opinion that legalization for some illegal aliens makes sense for the country's economic health: "… Immigration enhances American growth…. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is for the government to provide wider avenues for legal NH T4050V 4WD w/Cab (NEW) 0% for 60 months or cash back Offer ends November 30, 2011 NH Boomer 40 4WD (NEW) New Holland New & Lease Return Tractors for Orchards and Vineyards Low APR or Cash Back NH T4030V 4WD (NEW) (2) NH T 4030V 4WD (2) NH T 4040V 4WD (7) NH 1510 (1) NH 1520 Call About Lease Returns 136 hrs 330 hrs 4WD 4WD (1) NH T 4040F 2WD w/cab (2) NH T 4040F 4WD w/cab (2) NH TN85FA 4WD (1) Edwards DYNA-SCAT All Terrain Forklift NH T4040F 4WD (NEW) SUNNYSID 526 W. YAKIMA VALLEY HIGHWAY SUNNYSIDE, WASHINGTON NH WorkMaster 55 2WD (NEW) 26 NOVEMBER 2011 GOOD FRUIT GROWER NEW HOLLAND, INC 509-837-2714 The Farmer's Friend! NH T4050F 4WD (NEW) E NH Rustler 115 gas 4WD w/electric tilt bed (NEW) 100 – 300 hrs 270 hrs 177 hrs/212 hrs NH T4040V 2WD (NEW) NH T4030V 2WD (NEW) NH T4040F 4WD w/Cab (NEW)

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