Immigration reform—Get involved now

Issue Date: May 23, 2007
Doug Mosebar

President's message

We are engaged in a great national debate, but it is also a time of soul-searching for our country. We know that our current immigration system is broken. And although we all support border security and improved enforcement, we know that enforcement by itself will not solve this problem.

A Farm Bureau delegation recently participated in a fly-in to the nation's capital to express the importance of completing comprehensive immigration legislation this year. I hope their comments, listed below, will inspire you to take action as well.

Farm Bureau is at the table in these discussions and we need everyone to take a stand now and express themselves to their legislative leaders. Take two minutes to weigh in through Farm Team at or make a personal visit to your district congressional offices. Thank you for your support.

Jim Rietkerk
San Bernardino County nursery producer

We're in the game and that's the key to getting these immigration reforms enacted. I believe government responds to those who show up and we have been actively participating. Everyone has said to us, "the devil is in the details," and we know that means it's not just the details of the legislative language, but also the details that go into the promulgation of the new regulations. Passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation is only half of the game and we're prepared to be engaged in this effort through the entire process.

All Farm Bureau members need to help get the legislation passed by going to the district offices of their congressional representatives to talk with staff. Our members need to go in person and they need to go in groups. We need to tell our representatives that agriculture cannot wait any longer for action on this issue. I've been working on this issue myself for six or seven years and many of our members have been trying even longer to get something done. We need Congress to address the problems of an immigration system that is clearly broken.

David Schwabauer
Ventura County citrus and avocado grower

Whatever bill is finally put forward I am confident that both Sens. Feinstein and Craig will be fighting for us, but they're asking for our help in speaking about the need and in helping to build the comfort level of those representatives that still need convincing. We need all members of the California congressional delegation to vote in favor of a reform bill. A positive vote in the Senate will further the engagement on this issue for those in the House who have remained uncommitted.

I have a better feeling now that we might get a bill passed than I did last September. We are closer than ever. There's still the frustration that some California representatives continue to stand on the sidelines and aren't willing to make the hard decisions to support reform legislation.

Russell Efird
Fresno County diversified grower

We know how Washington, D.C. works and our chances of getting something done are as good as we've seen anytime in the past few years. If we don't get immigration reform legislation passed now, because of the election year, we won't be able to restart the reform conversation again for another two or three years. If we cannot get a measure through Congress now, however, we have been assured that efforts will be made to try to get AgJOBS through as stand-alone legislation.

Sen. Boxer appears to have come around to an understanding of the need for immigration reform and the work force struggles of agriculture. Those now coming forward to support this legislation are a little different than the alliances we're used to, but it's good to see the broad-based support for a comprehensive immigration reform package.

Elia Vasquez
Santa Cruz County strawberry grower

I am always an optimist. I think it's the right time to act on comprehensive immigration reform and I think Congress sees the seriousness of the situation we face. I trust Congress and I've always felt they would respond to our needs before it was too late. I'm thankful our California senators are behind us as they take up this important issue.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.