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
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses

May 28, 2017

Growers Offer Advice on What to Know Before Your Next B…

Two Top 100 Growers discuss their most recent building projects, the challenges they addressed, and what they learned during the process.

Read More
Adult Aphidoletes in web - Feature

May 27, 2017

How to Overcome Biocontrol Challenges by Thinking Outsi…

With a little creative thinking and adjustments to your strategy, you can overcome your greenhouse biocontrol challenges.

Read More
Greenhouse Plant Nutrition

May 26, 2017

University of Florida Course Helps You Improve Greenhou…

The University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is offering an Advanced Nutrient Management course through its online greenhouse training program.

Read More
Boxcar Central Monitoring Farm Environmental Conditions

May 26, 2017

New Software System From Boxcar Central Takes Growing D…

Boxcar Central’s data-hub platform allows growers to log mass amounts of data and use it to compile information on crop quality.

Read More
Tyler Beasley and Allan Armitage

May 25, 2017

Allan Armitage: Two Great Examples of Young People Movi…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says perhaps we should, as an industry, extend our hands to our youngest members. We might be pleasantly surprised what happens.

Read More
Stepables Tough-Ten Tags

May 25, 2017

Jury Awards Damages in Stepables Photo Copyright Case, …

According to a press release from Under A Foot Plant, Co,, a jury awarded Under A Foot Plant (which owns the Stepables product line) $900,000 in actual damages for The Perennial Farm’s use of Stepables’ copyrighted photographs.

Read More

May 25, 2017

AmericanHort Hosting Advocacy Visit to Capitol Hill in …

AmericanHort has announced it will be hosting Impact Washington, an inaugural advocacy and policy summit, in Washington, DC, Sept. 12-13.

Read More

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More
Bell Nursery Panorama Photo

May 24, 2017

Sustainability in the Greenhouse is More Than Just Abou…

Bell Nursery has taken several steps over the years to make our operation more sustainable from a technological standpoint. Here’s how we are doing it.

Read More
2016 Perennial Plant Of The Year Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’

May 24, 2017

What to Expect at the Perennial Plant Symposium in Denv…

The Perennial Plant Association’s annual Symposium takes place July 23-28 in Denver, CO, and features 28 educational sessions, six local tours, and a trade show.

Read More
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

May 23, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Acquire New Customers

Even the most successful brands need new customers if they want to grow their business, or stay profitable.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

May 22, 2017

New Dümmen Orange Scholarship Honors Legacy of Dr. P. A…

“Our industry’s future depends on attracting and supporting bright, hard-working students into horticulture programs across North America, and the support of Dümmen Orange will aid that effort,” Hammer says.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

May 21, 2017

Final California Spring Trials Thoughts From Allan Armi…

“I went home from California Spring Trials realizing that the students enrolled in our Greenhouse Management program at Spokane Community College need to experience the trials. Attending opened many doors of opportunity for me.”

Read More
Cannabis Seedling

May 20, 2017

Biocontrols: A Practical Option for Cannabis

With limited options for chemical pest control, cannabis growers are incorporating biocontrols into their integrated pest management programs. More education will cement this solution as a viable option in this emerging market.

Read More
The Greenhouse and Hoophouse growers handbook

May 19, 2017

New Book Highlights the Benefits of Growing Vegetables …

Andrew Mefferd’s new book, “The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture,” covers the many benefits of protected culture food production, from being first to market, to more effective pest control.

Read More