The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 10, 2013

Our View: Immigration bill must solve the ag worker problem


Meanwhile, the lack of a resolution is bad for everyone. 

We must allow more agricultural workers to come here legally, and we must ensure that they work under fair conditions. At the very least, it is time for us all to recognize the debt we owe to those who harvest our most labor-intensive crops — who do it for low pay at a time when most U.S. citizens refuse to consider such work, and when (and this will never change) all of us expect low prices for the home-grown food that we put on our tables.

Kristi Boswell, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, put it in stark terms recently. “It comes down to either we’re importing our labor or we’re importing our food, and if we don’t have access to a legal supply of labor we will start going offshore.”

Going outside of the U.S. for our food? It should never happen; not in the world’s breadbasket. So our politicians will need to avoid the grandstanding, avoid playing to their most extreme interests, and get a past-due solution completed.

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