We need immigration reform. At least that is what a lot of people are saying. But, what will immigration reform actually do and who will it really benefit? Well, the details about what policies and rules will be included within an immigration reform bill is still up in the air, but one thing is for sure: immigration reform will benefit society as a whole.
This is true because immigration reform would help support jobs throughout the country in a variety of different industries. One major area that would see a benefit from immigration reform legislation being passed would be agriculture. In Arizona alone, there would be thousands of agricultural jobs impacted by immigration reform.
A recent story posted on the East Valley Tribune highlights this issue quite well. Agriculture is important to the state's economy. In fact, Western Growers Association (WGA) has come out and discussed how important it is for immigration policy changes to be made in order for Arizona agriculture to sustain profitability. WGA recently met with state Congressional delegation representatives in order to stress the “urgent need for immigration policy changes.” The hope is that these legislative leaders will make immigration reform one of the primary goals of this legislative year.
In the state of Arizona, agriculture is a $9 billion industry and therefore, an important part of the economy. Agricultural products grown in the state are shipped to families and businesses throughout the United States and the world. It's well-known that those in the farming and ranching industries have seen a decrease in the amount of people looking for jobs in their line of work. The truth is, these industries depend on immigrant workers to stay in business.
In a perfect world, Arizona farmers and ranchers would not have to face any immigration challenges when looking to hire workers from other countries. However, at this point, many are forced to unlawfully hire undocumented immigrant workers. Not only does this hiring go against immigration policies, it does not allow for employers to ensure that they have a secure workforce from one season to the next. Also, “it directly hinders investments in training and agricultural production that could significantly increase Arizona — and U.S. — economic output.”
At this point, the problems associated with hiring undocumented seasonal workers have led to labor shortages throughout the country. In total, this situation could lead to farm income dropping by a total of $9 billion with thousands of farms failing.
As the story in the East Valley Tribune explains, communities will see benefits in all economic sectors with the passing of immigration reform. In the area of agriculture, we would likely see hundreds of new jobs created once legislation is passed. Further, there would be $15 million added to wage and salary disbursements after just one year. Looking ahead, workers in Arizona would ultimately see an additional $55.5 million in wages by the year 2020.
Do you think these kinds of meetings will help influence and encourage Congress to pass immigration reform? Is it likely yet this year?