Immigration Policy To Hit Agriculture Labor Supply Soon | WGLT

Immigration Policy To Hit Agriculture Labor Supply Soon

Oct 18, 2018

Federal administration immigration policies will soon start to hurt the agriculture sector in a big way, according to the head of the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Vegetable and fruit producers in Illinois have long complained about the difficulty of attracting and keeping migrant workers without true immigration reform. 

Speaking on GLT's Sound Ideas, Justice Center Director Mary Meg McCarthy said that's about to get a lot worse. 

"I imagine there is a shortage, but I think next year is when we are going to see the end of the temporary protected status for individuals. That's a million people. Between DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and Temporary Protected Status that's a lot of people, and I think that's when we're really going to see the outcry by a lot of employers," said McCarthy.

McCarthy said the regulatory landscape for immigrants is changing so rapidly and so confusingly it's difficult for her network of more than 1,500 pro bono attorneys to stay current on law and policy. 

She also said that the changing landscape makes it crucial for immigrants to have informed advice. 

"We are all seeing in the immigration field, cases that were very straightforward coming back to us, asking for additional evidence or simply being denied, and this administration is now saying that if your application is denied, we have the right to put you in deportation proceedings," said McCarthy. 

McCarthy says there is a lot of fear among immigrants in the U.S. as the administration reverses decades-long policies that allow residency.

McCarthy was the keynote speaker at an Immigration Project luncheon in Normal this week.

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