Guest Workers Needed
Some people believe adopting narrow enforcement-only bills is the way to solve this problem. Unfortunately, this view ignores the fact that our economy depends on migrant men and women to grow our crops, care for our livestock, build our homes and schools, and work in our favorite restaurants.
As a farmer, I know firsthand how important migrant workers are to our local businesses.
According to an American Farm Bureau Federation study, North Carolina agriculture could lose up to $259 million in annual crop production if enforcement-only immigration reform bills are enacted.
Farm income could drop by almost $158 million statewide. As a result, farms and small businesses will close, and counties and towns will lose more tax revenue even as they struggle to provide much-needed services.
Congress is expected to continue its work on immigration reform in the next few weeks. Congressman Howard Coble and Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole are receiving a lot of phone calls and e-mails from supporters of enforcement-only measures.
There is another side to this issue, and we must share it with our lawmakers. I urge everyone who supports local farmers and businesses to contact our federal leaders, and tell them that any immigration bill enacted by Congress must include guest worker programs for agriculture and business.
David L. Allred
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