Immigration Hot Topic At Agriculture Convention

For more than five decades, the Western Colorado Horticultural Society's convention has served the agricultural community in a variety of areas, but this year, there's one topic on everyone's minds is something that has become vital to the survival of agriculture -- migrant labor.

According to Greg Walcher, who owns land on the Western Slope but works in Washington D.C. as a consultant, says research shows Colorado is the fastest growing state in the U.S. for illegal immigrants, but the lawmakers confronting the problem lack the knowledge to tackle it.

"They've never dealt with illegal workers and they don't know what motivates them," Walcher said.

What does motivate migrant workers is money, as approximately $20B is wired to third world countries every year from the U.S.

However, because new immigration laws have made it harder to get in and out of the country, workers who are simply trying to support their families find themselves in an unwanted situation.

"They wind up staying, then they try to bring their families and become part of a huge national problem," Walcher said.

Farmers say there needs to be a blending of ideas between securing our borders and a part time worker program that works, but they add that until that happens, migrant labor, illegal or not will continue to be utilized.