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Greg Martin E-Verify Part 2
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: June 24, 11

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E-Verify Part 2. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

On Wednesday we began a chat about the future of the E-Verify program here in Washington State and indeed around the nation. Various states are adopting E-Verify programs. Farm Bureau Labor Specialist Paul Schlegel explains AFBF’s position on the Legal Workforce Act that mandates use of the E-Verify program. 

SCHLEGEL: Until we get a program that works in which a farmer knows he’ll get the workers he needs when he needs them, we can’t support E-Verify.

Washington Congressman Doc Hastings says we really need a strong guest worker program.

HASTINGS: There is at least a carve out if you will for agriculture but I’m not sure that the carve out which is nothing more than a three year time period to comply, really resolves the problem because the fundamental issue is that our labor intensive agriculture has to have a workable guest worker program and of course E-Verify does nothing to address that.

He says that Congress has really only had one hearing regarding the issue. Meanwhile Paul Schlegel says we have to realize that times have changed.

SCHLEGEL: They have a tradition in Maine of closing the high schools in the fall so that the highschoolers can help harvest the potatoes. Well highschoolers don’t go harvest the potatoes anymore. They go to the mall and the text their friends and they listen to their iPods, but they don’t harvest the potatoes. So those are changes that have taken place in this sector and we need to make sure that the laws and regulations we have in place reflect our needs and allow this sector to sustain itself. 

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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