Western Growers and the Arizona Farm Bureau have backed an attempt at creating immigrant-friendly policies in Arizona.
Joining a coalition called the Arizona Accord, the immigration reform effort supports focusing law enforcement resources on criminal violations instead of immigration enforcement.
Though the Arizona Accord has not been introduced as legislation, the coalition is trying to create immigrant-friendly policies in the wake of that state’s tough immigration law, SB 1070, which was passed in 2010.
Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers e-mailed members that the association remains focused on advocating for a federal agricultural guest worker program but supports the Arizona Accord. The Arizona document advocates what it calls five principles to guide Arizona’s immigration debate, including federal solutions, law enforcement focus on criminal activities, family-friendly policies toward immigrants, a free market economy that values immigrants and an inclusive approach in society toward immigrants.
Frank Gasperini, executive vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Council of Agricultural Employers, said federal immigration reform is needed but more and more states are recognizing their dependence on immigrant labor.
In view of reports of labor shortages in Georgia and Alabama after they passed tough immigration enforcement laws, Gasperini said more states are thinking twice before enacting their own immigration enforcement laws.
“It is helpful if states make resolutions, it puts pressure on Congress to do the right thing if the states are out there grumbling,” he said.