Posted August 20, 2013

In addition to the debate in Congress over immigration, the North Carolina legislature passed an immigration bill, which was recently vetoed by the state’s governor, Pat McCrory.  According a PR Newswire article, available here, the North Carolina Farm Bureau is garnering support for a veto override when the General Assembly reconvenes.   The NC Farm Bureau announced “it strongly supports NC Legislators taking bold action to override” Gov. McCrory’s veto of the RECLAIM NC Act (HB 786).  The bill passed the North Carolina House 85-28 and the North Carolina Senate 43-1 during the 2013 Legislative Session.  However, it was vetoed last week. 
The text of the bill is available here.
NC Farm Bureau President, Larry Wooten, stated that a recent report shows “the immense need expressed by our farmers for a more stable agricultural workforce.”  In addition, Wooten cited agricultural workforce survey which showed “more than 60 percent of surveyed farmers have had trouble hiring qualified domestic employees and that nearly one-third reported a loss of income in the past five years due to an insufficient supply of workers.”  He also stated that “one in five surveyed farmers indicated they would shut down their farm if E-Verifybecame mandatory without a workable guest worker program in place.”
According to a News Observer article, available here, the original bill “would have exempted all seasonal workers from E-Verify, but a late amendment reined that in by setting the exemption at up to nine months.”  Currently, employers are not required to screen workers through E-Verify if they are employed for less than 90 days in a year.  The current 90-day law will stay in place, unless the veto is overridden. 
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner, Steve Troxler, believes the current 90-day exemption is not sufficient for most farmers because growing seasons are not limited to 90 days. 
House Speaker Thom Tillis blames Washington for “failing to address the nation’s immigration issues.”  In Congress, an immigration reform bill has passed the Senate, while House GOP leaders say “they’re not willing to put the bill up for the vote” according to a CBS News article, available here.  On the federal front of the immigration debate, The Hill reported today that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has “kept a low profile on the subject of immigration reform this month” while “others in the Senate Gang of Eight pressure the House to act.”