In Alabama and Georgia, agricultural interests are looking for help with farm labor issues after those two states passed tough immigration laws in 2011.
And in Florida, ag-related groups are fighting to prevent similar legislation.
The Florida Farm Bureau has gone on record opposing “immigration legislation, ordinances or rules at the state or local level that would prevent the sustainability of Florida agriculture.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has recommended a temporary worker program. Such a program would allow workers to pay their taxes and support Social Security, and will allow the U.S. government to track them, ensuring that they are here for a defined period of time.
“Florida alone cannot solve this problem. We must work with the federal government to develop a comprehensive program to solve these problems. A comprehensive solution to immigration must not only provide a stable legal workforce but protect our borders and the United States must remain a land of opportunity,” states the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Meanwhile, in Alabama, the state’s Farmers Federation expects the legislature to explore changes to the state’s strict immigration law.
“We are encouraged that Gov. Robert Bentley and the Republican leadership are listening to farmers’ concerns and suggestions,” said Federation Assistant Director of Governmental and Agricultural Programs Brian Hardin.
“The Federation has identified several items in the law that could be changed to help farmers maintain access to a legal, reliable workforce. We look forward to working with legislators as they consider improvements to the law.”
In Georgia, the Farm Bureau, as part of its legislative priorities for 2012, will “continue to working for federal reform” of immigration laws. Also, the group will “remain engaged with state and federal farm labor issues.”