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Howard Buffett On How Immigration Gridlock Hurts American Agriculture

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Earlier this week, we wrote about the Silicon Valley “Tech Titans” who are frustrated with the pace of immigration reform and started supporting DREAMers through E4FC.org. Today, there’s another major player from the business world weighing in on the lack of progress on the immigration issue. This time it’s Howard Buffett talking about the problems facing agriculture because of immigration gridlock. Howard, the son of Warren Buffett, is a farmer himself:

“There are commentators that immediately … go to amnesty. Nobody’s talking about amnesty,” Buffett said. “But if you inject amnesty into the discussion, all of a sudden it polarizes the debate. It separates people and people take positions on it and the emotion goes up.”

Meanwhile, he said, farms have gone out of business because they haven’t been able to get enough labor or get labor quickly enough to keep crops from rotting.

“That’s an emotional issue. That’s your livelihood. That’s everything you have invested,” Buffett said. “That’s your family. That’s your legacy.”

Buffett said the Labor Department wrongly believes that with unemployment still high workers shouldn’t be brought into the country. American workers aren’t going to take back-breaking farming jobs, especially if they are already living off welfare, he said.

“If there’s one thing that everyone ought to understand, and everyone in this room will understand it, is Americans will not do this job,” Buffett said.

What Buffett describes is playing out in Alabama because of the state’s draconian anti-immigrant law HB 56. Crops are literally rotting in the fields. The crisis was described eloquently by an Alabama farmer in one of the “Is this Alabama” videos produced by Chris Weitz. It’s titled,”Not the Kind of Alabama I Want”: