By John Lindt Feb 8, 2018 Updated 4 hrs ago
Stung by an immigration enforcement battle that pits the state versus the Trump administration, Central Valley mayors hope to press the issue with U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue when he visits here. Perdue will be in Tulare next week for the World Ag Expo.
Ag leaders say farmers are caught in the middle by state demands for a “sanctuary state” and ICE enforcement action at area packing houses that is scaring away workers. The Fresno Bee reported this week that Bee Sweet citrus lost 40 workers as immigration officials demanded a new employee audit at the farm.
”Farmers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” complains Citrus Mutual president Joel Nelsen.
What most leaders agree on is that they need the workforce who is here already – to stay here. ”Conservative legislation the requires everyone be sent home to Mexico will not work for us,” says Nelsen.