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
Craig Regelbrugge

July 23, 2017

Horticulture Industry Insiders Offer Tips on Communicat…

With immigration in the spotlight and a national budget that could severely impact horticulture industry programs, it’s more important than ever to be vocal about how the decisions that lawmakers are implementing impact your business.

Read More

July 22, 2017

Craig Regelbrugge: Proposed Budget Cuts Could Eliminate…

President Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year includes significant cuts to the Agricultural Research Service, which supports the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative.

Read More

July 21, 2017

New Products Zone at Cultivate’17 Features Goods …

The New Products zone is always a popular exhibit at Cultivate’17. Here’s a sampling of some of the many items on display that could make growing easier than ever before.

Read More
EOE Ushio Sakazaki On Stage

July 20, 2017

Highlights from Greenhouse Grower’s Evening Of Excellen…

Greenhouse Grower held its annual Evening of Excellence event on Monday, July 17, during Cultivate’17. The Greenhouse Grower Evening Of Excellence awards reception celebrates greenhouse operations and plant breeders that strive for excellence, and as to be expected, there was much of that to be found during the event.

Read More
Terra Nova Shipping Box

July 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries, Dümmen Orange to Partner on Unroo…

Terra Nova Nurseries has contracted with Dümmen Orange to produce unrooted cuttings (URCs) from Terra Nova private stock located at Dümmen Orange’s Central America facilities. The URCs will fulfill orders in North America and Europe.

Read More
Jon Gordon

July 20, 2017

Nine Practices for Positive Leadership That Drive Chang…

Cultivate’17 keynote speaker Jon Gordon encouraged leaders to keep moving forward and confront negativity to create a cohesive, committed team.

Read More

July 20, 2017

New Perennials, Trial Gardens, and Merchandising Were H…

Darwin Perennials Day has steadily become one of the must-attend perennial events of the summer. This year, even the weather cooperated.

Read More

July 20, 2017

Luxflora Attracted Even More Participation to its Secon…

More than 170 runners kicked off Cultivate'16 on Sunday, July 16, with Luxflora's second annual 5k race. It was a great way to start the week, participants said.

Read More
Fluence Bioengineering

July 19, 2017

New Videos Highlight Grower Experiences in Shifting to …

Fluence Bioengineering recently produced two videos in which growers in the U.S. and overseas describe why they switched lighting systems.

Read More
Florida Nursery Economic Impact

July 18, 2017

Florida’s Nursery and Greenhouse Industry Has a Huge Ef…

A new economic impact study from the University of Florida says the green industry contributes more than $21 billion in sales and 230,000 jobs to the Sunshine State’s economy.

Read More
EOE Joe Lara, Aron Hoff, Laura Drotleff

July 18, 2017

Aron Hoff of Meyers Fruit Farms and Greenhouses Named H…

"Everyone on my team is an inspiration, and this award is a testament to what they've done in challenging me to always do better," said Hoff in accepting the award, which was presented during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence program.

Read More
EOE Micandy Gardens

July 18, 2017

Micandy Gardens Greenhouses Named Operation of the Year…

"Our team works with passion and has a common goal and purpose: to share the beauty of plants and nature with the world," said Micandy Gardens President Marcelyn Buist-Byl in accepting the award, which was presented during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence program.

Read More
EOE Syngenta

July 17, 2017

Greenhouse Grower Honors 2017 Medal of Excellence Breed…

Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence at Cultivate’17 was a celebration of the 2017 Medal of Excellence Winners that embody the best in breeding, marketing, and growing, and typify the dedication to quality that is so prevalent in our industry. Check out who the big winners were.

Read More
2018 Ball Seed Catalog

July 17, 2017

Ball Seed’s 2018 New Varieties Catalog Now Available

The expanded guide includes breakthrough breeding from Ball in annuals, perennials, vegetables, potted plants, and more.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 16, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens, D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Open H…

The event gives horticulture industry professionals the chance to check out nearly 80 new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles & Fragrants line.

Read More
National Garden Bureau 2018 Year of the Calibrachoa

July 15, 2017

National Garden Bureau Announces Featured Plants for it…

Plant classes recognized include bulb crops (tulip), annuals (calibrachoa), vegetables/edibles (beet), and perennials (coreopsis).

Read More
Danziger Hosts Indian Prime Minister

July 14, 2017

Danziger Hosts Indian Prime Minister, Demonstrates Inno…

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Israel July 4 with his delegation to explore possible cooperation with Israel, the group’s first stop was the Danziger facility at Mishmar Hashiva’a.

Read More

July 13, 2017

20 Things You Need to Know Before You Head to Cultivate…

Whether you are a first-time Cultivate attendee or a seasoned veteran, it’s important to be prepared before you make the trip to Columbus, OH, for one of the floriculture industry’s largest events. Before you leave, here are 20 things to plan ahead for prior to departing.

Read More