Strong rhetoric on immigration has Idaho agricultural leaders reaching out to tell the true story of how important foreign born labor is to Idaho agriculture. Idaho dairy industry spokesman Bob Naerbout at a press conference to promote the importance of getting something done to secure long-term, the foreign born labor needed to keep the economic engine of Idaho agriculture running. He says a pathway for legal status for workers is a must. “ if you look at the USDA or Department of Labor studies that estimate between 40 percent and 70% of all the labor and agriculture across this country, so that includes Idaho, is not here with proper documentation. That's a huge number. Legal status is not amnesty, legal status is not a pathway to citizenship. it's only saying it is a legal status, that this person is here, he is working for this individual and he needs and has the right to have that legal status. We need the employees, let's face some facts that they are here and the best way to provide security is to provide them legal status. We should be challenging our delegation members and we are trying to do that with a petition we have online at idahodairymen.org that it is time for immigration reform right now. Idaho's a small state and can play a big role in immigration reform and we should be playing that role.”
I think it's important to say right here that I have known Bob Naerbout for years. He is not taking his position from the point of a bleeding heart liberal. He is talking from experience, both practical and pragmatic. He's looking at the numbers.