Most farm groups feel the President’s action, outlined in a speech Thursday evening, will do little to address the crisis in agriculture that exists from lack of action on immigration. Many hold out hope that Congress will deal with the needs of farmers for a labor force in the next session. “In practical terms, we do not expect the president’s initiative to help America’s farmers deal with the real labor challenges they face. Our nation loses millions of dollars in fruit and vegetable production every year because farmers cannot find labor to harvest everything they grow. This order will not change that,” according to Chuck Conner with the National Council of Farmer Co-ops.
Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement, “Farmers and ranchers need a new, flexible visa program that ensures long-term access to an expanding workforce by allowing foreign-born workers to enter the U.S. We also need to permit some current workers, many of whom have helped sustain our operations for years, to remain working in America.” Stallman added, “We need legislation that addresses border security and enforcement, improves an outdated agricultural visa program, and gives experienced agricultural workers a way to gain legal status.” Stallman said the President’s action is not a solution to the immigration crisis for American agriculture, “Congress and the president must work together to find a solution that works for America. The American Farm Bureau Federation will work closely with anyone who supports agricultural labor reform.”
Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement this evening following President Obama’s decision to act unilaterally on immigration: “Tonight the President announced his plan to by-pass Congress by issuing an executive order changing American immigration laws. While reasonable people can differ on ways to improve our nation’s broken immigration system, the President’s unilateral action is an unacceptable end run around the democratic process and must be reversed. The proper place to debate immigration policy is through the legislative process defined in our Constitution. The State of Indiana will carefully evaluate the details of the Executive Order and take any available legal actions necessary to restore the rule of law and proper balance to our constitutional system of government.”
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley commented after the announcement, “The President’s executive actions on immigration are the wrong way forward and disrespectful of the law.” But Obama said his actions were “not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century.”