American Farm Bureau Federation’s Paul Schlegel was quoted in a Bloomberg BNA article on the negative effects increased immigration enforcement could have on farmers and ranchers. With undocumented immigrants comprising about half of the U.S. ag workforce, “The agriculture industry in particular has reasons to avoid the electronic employment verification system,” noted Bloomberg.
Schlegel, AFBF managing director of public policy and economics, said, “I don’t think you would find a lot of agricultural employers that would voluntarily be using E-Verify.” He noted that doing so would reveal those workers’ immigration status and require that they be fired. “The American Farm Bureau Federation would support mandatory E-Verify only if Congress also provided legal status for undocumented farm workers and a workable guestworker program that ensures an adequate future labor supply,” Schlegel said. Further, “The agriculture industry is ‘extremely worried’ that it will be left out of the immigration discussion in Congress, which is focused around legal status for young, undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.”