Ag secretary supports immigration reform
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and nationwide will be hard-hit if immigration reform isn't passed by Congress. The immigration reform plan that recently cleared the U.S. Senate would grant legal resident status to current farm workers who entered the country illegally. Backers say a separate guest worker program outlined in the bill will increase the flow of temporary farm workers into the U.S. Vilsack says America's ag industry has kept food prices low, in part, with cheap immigrant labor. A recent survey found 77 percent of all agricultural workers in the U.S. were born in another country.