Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Farm Bureaus Send Letter to Administration Urging Action to Address Surge of Undocumented Immigrants

News / Newsline June 3, 2021

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The American Farm Bureau Federation joined all 50 state Farm Bureaus and the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau in sending a letter urging the Biden administration to address the surge of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. Chad Smith has more on how the increase in illegal immigration is impacting farm and ranch families.

Smith: The American Farm Bureau Federation recently joined all 50 state Farm Bureaus and Puerto Rico Farm Bureau in sending a letter urging the Biden administration to address the surge of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. The letter went to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Russell Boening, President of the Texas Farm Bureau, talks about the details the Farm Bureaus lay out in the letter.

Boening:  The four border states put it together, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and us. We just pointed out the stuff that's happening, there's damage to crops, damage to fences and other types of things. There are safety issues: maybe you have children that play outside or even folks that work outside. We basically just shared our concerns that we're hearing from our members and asking for some assistance.

Smith: The letter also states human smugglers known as Coyotes are reaping a windfall from leaving people destitute. Boening says all 50 state Farm Bureaus and the Puerto Rican Farm Bureau signed on to the letter, which should send a message about the gravity of the problem.

Boening: We're very grateful for that, and I think it sends a message that people recognize there's a problem. I think people recognize that it's not a partisan issue, it's a humanitarian issue. Just the fact that all the Farm Bureaus signed on and we're very grateful for that, and I think everybody recognizes that it is a crisis.

Smith: He says local and state law enforcement officials don’t have the resources to deal with the surge, and it’s time for Washington, D.C., to address the crisis.

Boening: We're hearing from our local and state law enforcement that their resources are being basically overwhelmed, because they're dealing with this and not being able to do your regular law enforcement work. The administration just needs to address it, and Congress needs to work with them. There are different ways of doing it. What's happening right now is not working.

Smith: Read the full letter at fb.org. Chad Smith, Washington.

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