Farmers Worry About Fate Of Immigration Bills

ATWOOD, Mich. (July 8, 2013)--The immigration debate on Capitol Hill is focused on border security and people who are already in the country illegally, but many of the nation's farmers are hoping what emerges from Congress is legislation that makes it easier for them to hire immigrant workers.

Producers of cherries, apples and other fruits in Michigan say the immigration crackdown is leaving them short of laborers to harvest their crops and the same complaint is heard from Christmas tree growers in the Appalachians, dairy farmers in Wisconsin and California's many fruit and vegetable operations.

A recently approved U.S. Senate bill would let experienced farm workers become eligible for year-round residency and another new program would let farmers hire foreign "guest workers" under temporary visas.

But conservative critics say those programs amount to amnesty.

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