Thousands of American dairy farmers depend on immigrant workers, many of them illegal. Negotiations in Washington over immigration reform may decide whether these workers can stay in the United States, a decision that could have a big impact on prices at the grocery store. (April 3, 2012)
Washington is gearing up for a serious attempt at immigration reform but one group with a big stake in the outcome won't be milking its connections in the halls of congress. They're more than nine million -- has across the country. Nearly half of them and -- -- immigrants from Latin America many of whom are in the country illegally. Now congress wants to crack down but it doesn't want new laws to shut down family farmers to trigger a big spike in milk price. Farmers say the party -- a steep drop in available workers and can't find enough Americans to milk the cows twice today. And keeps rising not only for milk but for yogurt cheese in the dry -- that doesn't it thousands of prepared foods. That adds up to more than 38 billion dollars in annual sales without immigrant labor retail dairy prices could jump more than 60%. According to ones that. Farmers are RD required to make it good faith effort to screen their workers and illegal workers found on farms can be dictate. Currently -- relied heavily on an immigrant labor force however in times of shortages they do not have a visa program that they can access. The current visa program is H two B program and that only allows for seasonal and temporary workers and scary is a year round cows -- -- 365 days a year and so they are not fit into that seasonal category. Congress might create a special status for the easier on farm workers that would allow them to stay in the United States for up to three years. We must be able to -- so long term. He's a program that gives accessibility of the future. The coming months we'll tell whether such a plane can move ahead in congress the lawmakers will have to grab the bull by the horns for writers I'm Andy Sullivan.