The Alabama Farmers Federation reminds farmers they must begin using the federal E-Verify program for new employees beginning April 1, as required by Alabama's new immigration law.
Since passage of immigration legislation last year, the Federation has worked to educate farmers about the law and what they must do to be in compliance. The Federation sponsored workshops throughout the state, as well as webinars featuring legal experts and companies that help farmers secure employees through the federal H-2A guest worker program.
Mac Higginbotham, director of the Federation's Bee & Honey; Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod; and Horticulture divisions, said the organization continues to work with lawmakers at the state and national levels to address farmers' need for a dependable workforce.
"Our top priority is to make sure our farmers understand the law and take the necessary steps to be in compliance," Higginbotham said. "We also are talking with members of Congress about the unique labor needs of American farmers.
"Many agricultural jobs require manual labor — often in a hot, dusty environment. And, many of these jobs only last three or four months of the year," he added. "As Congress considers federal immigration reform, including proposals that would mandate E-verify nationwide, it is critical that we develop an agricultural guest worker program that is flexible enough that farmers can hire the legal workers they need."
For more information on Alabama's immigration law, visit http://immigration.alabama.gov. For information on e-Verify, visit https://verify.alabama.gov/Login/Index?ReturnUrl=%2f.