By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
As the immigration debate heats up in the United States, the White House aims to highlight the importance of the legislation in American agriculture.
The White House released a report featuring a number of studies which discuss the important role that non-citizen farmworkers play in the agricultural industry. The report finds that close to half of crop and livestock workers, 43 percent, are immigrant workers. Given these statistics, the White House argues that agriculture would only seek to benefit from immigration reform.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack argues that an overhaul of immigration laws is needed as U.S. farmers and ranchers have expressed difficulties finding workers for certain jobs. The Senate passed an immigration mandate in June that would allow undocumented immigrants to become U.S. citizens, but the House has yet to pass its own legislation, which makes it less likely that an immigration bill will pass in 2013.