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Serving: United States

Fruit Producers Brace for Immigrant Crackdown

The White House plans to begin measures in September to find illegal immigrant workers.

The Bush Administration has announced that it will crack down on illegal immigrants, sparking concern among farmers. The Social Security Administration will review employees' social security numbers against payroll information and notify employers of discrepancies. If employers have correctly submitted the worker's information and the discrepancy remains, it will then be up to the employee to talk to SSA.

The measure is supposed to begin in mid-September - before the end of the peak harvest season for many fruit growers. They say they'll be hardest hit because they face losing the thousands of seasonal workers hired to help harvest the fruit each year.

Farm Bureau leaders participated in a call with administration officials on Thursday to discuss the ramifications of the new measures. While the White House recognized the shortage of farm labor that could result from the crackdown, it says it will push forward with the measure.

In an Associated Press report, Texas Farm Bureau legislative director Steve Pringle says the measure puts producers between a rock and a hard place. "Either you obey the law and you watch your crop rot in the fields, or you attempt to try to get the crop out and run the risk of being hit by the federal government."

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