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Farmers want involvement in immigration-reform talks


UNDATED (WSAU)   A Wisconsin farm leader says agriculture needs to be represented, as immigration reform is discussed in Washington. It’s among the top concerns of the Wisconsin Potato-and-Vegetable Growers’ Association. The group’s director, Duane Maatz, says there needs to be an open and transparent system which lets immigrant workers answer questions honestly, and lets farmers employ them legally.

Maatz tells the Brownfield Ag News Service quote, “We’ve historically not been in favor of amnesty for people who are in our country illegally, but we also don’t want to have our workforce deported only to have them stand in line to get back to work.” He said the process could take years.

Wisconsin potato-and-vegetable growers discussed that issue and others, when they met with their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill recently. Congress has been working on a possible bi-partisan compromise, as President Obama seeks his own package which includes a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11-million illegal immigrants.

Wisconsin dairy groups have urged Congress to let foreign workers stay on farms for at least 11 months a year if not 12.