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Need for agriculture workers

Texas farmers and ranchers fear there could be an increased shortage of agriculture workers, if a new immigrant worker program is not implemented soon.

Thousands of farmers and ranchers in the area are in need of employees to work in the field. But the process to hire immigrants, the people who are willing to do the jobs, is turning out too long and expensive for them.

Texas Cattle Feeders Association Director of Communications Jim Bret Campbell says, "We definitely want secure borders, but the bottom line for many of our feedyard members, and farmers and ranchers, is that we do have a need. Either for migrant labor or folks who are willing to take jobs that many Americans aren't."

Local reps from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association went to Washington DC this week along with the Texas Cattle Raisers Association to address this issue before Congress. Campbell says, "Many forms of agriculture are sort of under threat being forced to shut down because there's not enough people willing to do the jobs. And so it's really crucial that we have folks that are willing to do those things. And make sure that we keep the economy moving."

They're pushing for a new practical immigrant worker program. Campbell says it's because, "To go through the documentation program and to make sure that you are requiring the right visas and h2a's, you know, that process is cumbersome and expensive. You know, um, above and beyond what you're actually paying in wages... We're just asking, you know, the Congress to come up with an attainable way for us to have documented workers."

Campbell says with the current program it takes months and too much money to get these immigrants the permit to work. Immigration Counselor with Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle Al Muñiz says, "Everybody is concerned that we have to make a way to make it easier for the employers to look for those workers wherever they need those workers... We have different, a lot of proposals in that direction."

One of the current proposals for immigration reform is an immediate temporary permit for agriculture workers.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

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