Agricultural leaders contend the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law means industry organizations must continue to push Congress to modify farmworker laws to provide a more reliable and legal labor supply for businesses including agriculture.

“The Supreme Court ruling means that we’ll continue to keep our nose to the grindstone and work with Congress and our elected leaders for positive farm labor changes,” said Kevin Rogers, a Mesa, Ariz., farmer and Arizona Farm Bureau Federation president.

“The bottom line is the federal government needs to step up and fix the visa labor program so we can have the needed legal workers in this country for agriculture and other industries.”

The High Court ruling June 25 struck down portions of Arizona’s immigration law (Senate Bill 1070); declaring state immigration laws cannot pre-empt federal immigration laws. The court allowed the law’s main component to stand which allows a police officer to stop a person if suspicion exists regarding whether the person is illegally in the country.

Tom Nassif, Western Growers president, Irvine, Calif., echoed the needs for Congress to finally move on immigration reform.

“The Supreme Court decision highlights the need for federal legislative action on immigration reform. Congress needs to take action on these issues.”

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Congress should address these issues, Nassif said, in a long-term and unified manner.