The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association recently joined with the Georgia Farm Bureau and several other agricultural organizations to issue a letter calling on the Georgia Congressional delegation to address Georgia's immigration needs.
According to GFVGA President Mike Bruorton, GFVGA supports the administration and Congress taking a two-prong approach to correct problems with the current H-2A program (for agricultural guest workers) and address the issue of falsely documented ag workers.
"We believe many of the issues with H-2A can be corrected with regulatory adjustments." Bruorton said. "President Trump has called on federal agencies to review their regulations and eliminate those that are not necessary. We encourage the Department of Labor to begin this process."
In addition, Georgia growers are encouraged from a recent statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Fox News clarifying that the Justice Department does not intend to target illegal immigrants who have not committed crimes beyond illegally entering the country.
According to Charles Hall, executive director of GFVGA, the comments confirm what has been reported by other administration officials that ICE activities will be directed toward deporting felons, not farm workers.
"The productivity of Georgia's fruit and vegetable industry is dependent on the hard work of foreign hands in the harvesting of our crops," Hall said. "We must have a viable workforce that abide by our nation's laws and not fearing deportation."