OFA Bulletin July/August 2010 : Page 2

OFA Mission Statement To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA – an Association of Horticulture Professionals 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org www.ofa.org OFA Bulletin July/August 2010 NUMBER 922 Editorial Staff Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Laura Kunkle Editor Contributors A.M. Alexander Diane M. Camberato Christopher J. Currey John M. Dole Paul Fisher Jeff Gibson Lynn P Griffith Jr Charlie Hall Alan Hodges Kathy Johnson Fediw R.T. Leonard Roberto G. Lopez Dustin Meador T.A. Nell Rosa Raudales Lin Schmale Alicia Wells Bridget White Forum Words From Washington by Lin Schmale without hearing someone’s opinion – or, hopefully, some new facts – about the issues being debated in the nation’s capital. What SAF commits to doing, as a representative of the floriculture industry in all of this activity, is just that: to represent the industry. I’ve compiled a quick snapshot of issues important to you and your business to make sorting through all the information a little easier. Y Immigration Reform Immigration reform is probably the most Published Bimonthly Copyright© OFA 2010. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) July/August 2010, Number 922.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. 2 important issue that remains to be addressed, and it appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will take up comprehensive immigration reform this year. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had agreed to work with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as well as with the business and labor communities to try to craft a bipartisan bill. However, in April that effort collapsed and Democratic Senators Schumer, Menendez (NJ), and Reid (NV) released the outline of a new “comprehensive reform” bill. Generally, it follows the outline of the framework that Schumer and Graham had previously agreed upon, with an increased emphasis on border security and fraud-proof identification cards, to try to gather more Republican support. However, as we get closer to the 2010 elections, time is running out. The Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR), including SAF, continues to work to support comprehensive reform, but we are also pushing for an “incremental approach.” That kind of approach could allow AgJOBS to move first, as a first step toward solving the overall problem. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.), the lead champion of AgJOBS in the Senate, believes an approach that coupled AgJOBS with provisions to address the needs of the ou can’t pick up the newspaper, turn on the TV, or even turn on your computer high-tech industry, could actually succeed and would then act as a way to demonstrate the possibilities and potential for further reform. By the time you read this, the outlook may be clearer. As with anything else, an incremental approach will require bipartisan support. Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) has joined with Senator Feinstein in support of AgJOBS. But President Obama has asked that more Republican support be generated before his administration will actively push for incremental passage of AgJOBS. Agriculture is increasingly desperate. The lack of verifiably documented workers, coupled with a continually increasing focus on employer enforcement, is creating a crisis in many parts of the country. So no matter what your opinion is on immigration reform in general, you should know that agriculture needs immigrant labor and that passage of AgJOBS is critical for floriculture, nursery, fruit and vegetable crops, dairy, and other segments of U.S. agriculture. It is difficult to generate support for immigration reform amid the noise of the anti-immigrant forces. But for one politician or radio talk-show host grandstanding about the evils of illegal immigration, there are hundreds of thoughtful Americans who are actually interested in working to solve the problem. Congress needs to hear from them as well. SAF, OFA, the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), the National Coalition of Agricultural Employers, and the hundreds of other agriculture groups who support AgJOBS ask our members to demonstrate their support of AgJOBS to their elected representatives; much more of that kind of political support is necessary. AgJOBS provides one model of how to begin immigration reform. Basically, it provides a way for temporary workers to O F A B u l l e t i n

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