Walking A Lame Duck

American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) has been fighting the good fight all year to help growers and landscapers secure access to legal immigrant workers, while protecting members from hostile legislation that could put them out of business.

Although ANLA has been working with other agricultural groups to promote reforms specific to agriculture in AgJOBS for many years, a sense of urgency became a crisis when the House of Representatives took a hard line passing an enforcement-only bill last December. Things were looking better in May, when the Senate passed a comprehensive bill including provisions for a guestworker program, the opportunity for workers to become legal, as well as enforcement. President Bush and members of his cabinet also supported this approach.

But this momentum was derailed in the summer, when the House conducted hearings on the issue in various parts of the country. ANLA did an outstanding job mobilizing members to make sure their stories were heard in the hearings and by organizing press conferences to balance the hearings. This led to an incredible amount of front-page, sympathetic press coverage in high-profile media, like The Washington Post.

State and regional nursery associations followed ANLA’s lead to make their voices heard. Texas Nursery & Landscape Association formed a coalition with other business leaders called Texas Employers For Immigration Reform. The coalition held a press conference in Dallas that was covered by three news stations and several radio and print reporters. Leaders also met with the Dallas Morning News editorial board, which resulted in a positive editorial.

Congress adjourned for this month’s elections without taking major action on comprehensive immigration reform. Instead, both the House and Senate passed legislation authorizing the construction of 700 miles of fencing and barriers along the Mexican border. President Bush also signed a $34 billion Homeland Security appropriations bill, which includes port security and border security and provides about $1 billion to initiate the fence construction. Boeing has also been contracted to provide electronic surveillance for both the Mexican and Canadian borders.

On the bright side, Congress did approve a one-year temporary fix to extend the exemption to the H-2B visa cap, which primarily affects the service industry, including landscapers. This allows workers who entered the country with visas in 2004-2006 to enter in 2007.

Next on the horizon is the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed guidance for responding to no-match letters from Social Security. If finalized, the guidance would put employers in the position of dismissing trained and experienced workers or accepting substantial legal liability.

Meanwhile, immigration enforcement raids have been on the rise, especially in the Northeast. In New York, dairy farms, vegetable farms and at least one nursery and one greenhouse operation have been raided and lost most of their workforce.

The next opportunity for meaningful reforms will be the lame duck session of Congress. ANLA has been organizing local delegations to meet with target lawmakers in their district to push for accountability and commitment to a comprehensive approach and meaningful action.

Now is the time to act. We need to strike while the iron is hot. For more on what you can do to make a difference, contact ANLA at 202-789-5980 and visit www.anla.org. Your congressional representatives need to hear from you on this vital issue.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Portulaca 'ColorBlast Tangerine'

February 26, 2017

2016 University of Georgia Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University Of Georgia trial gardens in Athens, GA.

Read More

February 26, 2017

AgBiome Will Enter the Ornamentals Market With a New Bi…

AgBiome, a young company with teammates steeped in decades of experience in the crop protection world, sees an opportunity to bring products to market that fill the existing gaps in plant protection. The company has partnered with SePRO to market and distribute Zio, a biological fungicide expecting EPA registration this spring.

Read More
University of Wisconsin field trial gardens

February 25, 2017

2016 University of Wisconsin Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin display gardens at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Verona, WI.

Read More
North Creek Tim McGinty Steve Castorini

February 24, 2017

AmericanHort Names New Board Members and Officers for 2…

The new board members are Steve Castorani of North Creek Nurseries, Tom Hughes of Hughes Nursery and Landscaping, and Cole Mangum of Bell Nursery.

Read More
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on Osteospormum

February 23, 2017

4 Pathogens to Prepare For in 2017

Early detection of disease and virus symptoms in the greenhouse is critical. One expert says there are a few pathogens in particular that growers should be monitoring.

Read More
EAGL Graduates

February 22, 2017

Emerging Industry Leaders Earn Business Management Cert…

Dr. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair for International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, recently announced the graduation of the fourth cohort of the elite Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL) program for nursery and greenhouse growers.

Read More
Drone for Bee Pollination

February 21, 2017

Learn How Drones Could Eventually Replace Bees in Polli…

Researchers in Japan are using the principle of cross-pollination in bees to make a drone that could potentially transport pollen between flowers.

Read More

February 21, 2017

Ian Baldwin: 2017 is Off to a Strong Start For Plant Re…

Many garden retailers are telling garden retail consultant Ian Baldwin that sales and the consumer’s attitude toward spending have been very strong the last two months.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers List

February 18, 2017

Top 100 Growers Survey for 2017 Is Now Open!

Operations with more than 400,000 square feet of environmentally controlled production are eligible to take the survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete.

Read More

February 17, 2017

How to Keep Customers Coming Back With Top-Notch Servic…

A recent article on Forbes.com outlines seven ways organizations can take their customer service from good to great and beyond.

Read More
Summerwinds Proven Winners display FEATURE

February 17, 2017

Proven Winners Makes Improvements to Its Retailer Certi…

Understanding the challenges of training new and seasonal staff at independent garden centers, Proven Winners says it is working to equip managers with tools to prepare their employees to better handle customers’ questions and boost their confidence in selling plants this season.

Read More
Tom Foley, WaterPulse

February 17, 2017

Industry Veteran Tom Foley Discusses His New Role as Vi…

Foley, a greenhouse industry veteran who was most recently with EuroAmerican Propagators, will be responsible for North American sales of WaterPulse’s patent-pending capillary mats and associated irrigation systems to nurseries and growers.

Read More
Dan and Jerrys Greenhouse 1

February 17, 2017

Dan and Jerry’s Greenhouse Buys Iowa-Based DeJong Green…

The acquisition will allow Dan and Jerry’s, a bedding plant grower headquartered in Minnesota, to extend its seasonal product offerings and service a new customer base with local distribution.

Read More
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Ed…

The site is designed to offer a friendly and informative vehicle that delivers product information in an easy-to-navigate format.

Read More
Syngenta Obsession Cascade

February 15, 2017

Syngenta Introduces Two New Flower Series for 2017

‘Sunfinity’ Sunflower produces multiple branches with numerous flowers that bloom all season long, while ‘Obsession Cascade’ Verbena quickly fills containers with vibrant flower patterns.

Read More