Kentuckians concerned with agriculture, business and education spoke out in favor of the latest federal immigration proposal during a phone conference organized by the Partnership for a New American Economy.
The immigration proposal is being considered in the U.S. Senate, thanks to a compromise by a group of eight senators from both political parties.
The plan would create a 13-year path to citizens, expand work visas and attempts to tighten border security.
H.H. Barlow, a dairy farmer in Barren County, says he supports the compromise because farms like his need more immigrant workers in Kentucky.
“And immigration, immigrant labor greatly impact all facets of livestock from dairy, beef, horse, the chicken industry and obviously our tobacco industry.”
Barrows says he’s had trouble getting American citizens to do the farm labor for years and that more immigrant work visas would solve that problem.
Other supporters included Kentuckians whose businesses have had trouble getting work visas for employees in science and math sectors and those in education.
Trey Grayson, a former Kentucky Secretary of State and current Director of Harvard’s Institute on Politics, says the keep plan will help keep bright minds in Kentucky to create jobs.
“But too often because the immigration system is broken right now, they can’t stay in Kentucky, they can’t stay in America. And so they go back home and start their businesses or take their brain power to businesses in their home country or other countries, so we’ve lost out on that opportunity,” Grayson says.
The Senate proposal for immigration reform was released today.