Agriculture Leaders Push for Immigration Reform
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Immigration Reform continues to be a heated debate, drawing both opposition and support from all sides.
On Wednesday, leaders released a letter from businesses and agricultural associations calling on Congress to help pass “Common Sense Immigration Reform.”
“If you would take the agriculture out of Colorado, you would make a big economic hole,” said Bob Raymond, president of Raymond’s Dairy.
Raymond owns one of only 6 dairy farms on the Western Slope. It's an industry he says is shrinking, while our population continues to grow.
For Raymond, Immigration Reform will help to provide assistance to his industry, because this kind of business relies heavily on immigrants to milk their cows.
“Without the workers, we can’t run this kind of operation,” said Raymond, who employees 10 regular workers. “There hasn't been a lot of labor available for the dairy industry. You can’t get people out of other industries.”
Raymond isn't the only one who wants to see change.
There are 18 business and agriculture associations urging congress to pass reform and help provide assistance to illegal immigrants.
“Our country was built on people who have come here from foreign countries,” said Carlyle Currier, vice president of Colorado Farm Bureau. “We need to continue that ability for people who are seeking freedom, who are seeking a better life for their families.”
Officials estimate that this reform would create 2,300 new jobs in our state and increase Colorado’s Gross State Product $15.8 billion over 10 years.
“We would like to be legal here,” said Antonio Gallegos, member of the Hispanic Affairs Project. “We want to be out of the shadows and be able to have the freedoms everyone else has To out there and do what everyone else does."
“They take pride in their jobs and we need them,” said Raymond. “As well as they need us.”
Those opposing this reform say the bill would harm our unemployment rate. They aren't happy there's a prospect of bringing in millions of new workers to compete for jobs.