The National Farmers Union, which represents more than 200,000 of the nation’s farms and ranches, is worried about what actions the Trump administration might make on immigration, according to its government relations representative, Zack Clark.
That’s particularly true because the president-elect and his surrogates have not specifically said how they define “criminal.”
Trump previously indicated that some undocumented Americans could remain in the country. However, Trump immigration adviser Kris Kobach ― the Kansas secretary of state and an architect of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration law ― commented this week that there will be “no free pass” given to any undocumented immigrant living in the U.S.
“We don’t know what to expect. It seems like there’s been a walking back of certain issues, so we’re not really sure which campaign promises will be fulfilled and which will go away,” Clark said. “It’s tough to envision any scenarios right now because of the ambiguity that exists.”
Tom Nassif, one of Trump’s agricultural advisers, says the president-elect won’t hurt the industry. Nassif is also the president and CEO of Western Growers, which represents farmers in California, Arizona and Colorado.
“I don’t fear what he’s going to do on immigration reform,” Nassif told HuffPost. “I believe the president-elect is very sensitive to the needs of agriculture and I would be surprised if we saw any mass deportations in agriculture.”
“They want and need and should be allowed to come out of the shadows and have a normal life, because they’re providing a service to us by harvesting our crops,” Nassif added.
It remains to be seen whether such action from a Republican-dominated Congress is possible, given the vigorous anti-immigrant rhetoric that came out of the Trump campaign and has been largely reinforced by his transition team.
But the alternative to an industry that relies so heavily on immigrant workers is not promising.