American Farm Bureau on Immigration

American Farm Bureau on Immigration

An inside look at a farm on the border. An inside look at a farm on the border.

July 21, 2016

Immigration reform is a major player in the political arena, but it's also relevant to the farmers and ranchers who work the land. The American Farm Bureau shares the difficulties of ranchers who live near the border. For ranchers living along the border, a stalled immigration policy means concerns about security.

Dan Bell is a third generation cattle rancher.  Ten miles of his ranch runs along one of the busiest areas patrolled by border control. They say the fence securing it can be scaled in a matter of seconds. Bell wants to see more technology, boots on the ground and roads to access the miles and miles of rough terrain that is difficult to patrol. 

"People are going across right here where the border wall is," Bell said. "There are people crossing all the time in fact on the hill right there on that no there’s a set of scouts that are watching us right now. They’re working for the Mexican drug cartels and those cartels are running the drugs and the immigrants."

And in the minds of the ranchers and farmers who live and work the land along this stretch of the border, security and immigration reform go hand in hand. 

Nan Walden, an Arizona pecan farmer commented, "You can’t have border security without immigration reform because you have to know who’s here."

Meanwhile, farmers are reeling from labor shortages. They want Congress to act on immigration reform that addresses border security and establishes a stable, reliable and legal supply of agricultural workers, including those who call a foreign country home.

Walden said, "They want something better for themselves and their children and they’re willing to work for it just like our ancestors did."

American Farm Bureau President, Zippy Duvall agrees. "They’re looking to make their life better. Anyone who would cross a desert like we’ve looked at here today, they’re obviously motivated. You know when we fix immigration, we need to think about what America really is, it’s a melting pot and all of us come from another culture or some other part of the world." 

If you would like to give your opinion on immigration reform, contact your State Representatives and Senators or visit usa.gov/electedofficials.

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