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Greetings from the Empire State, still the home of dysfunctional government and out-of-control spending, but it is home. Our spring sprung early, but so far the orchards of New York have escaped any weather injuries, and, as of this very moment, a record crop looms ahead for our apples. Of course, ever year on April 29th I say that, only to revise and reevaluate the crop each day as we move forward. On Wednesday, we had snow in western New York, and today, it is high 60s and sunny…so as the ole Yiddish saying goes, G.W.W.P: God Willing and Weather Permitting, we will have a crop.

Switching gears, the recent developments in Arizona have certainly raised awareness about racial profiling. Something that we are way too familiar with. I want to share a recent statement that I made in an Op-Ed piece: here in western New York apple country, where we have some of the highest concentration of orchards in the world, we have been subject to overt racial profiling for years. ICE agents routinely stop and harass cars full of our workers in the little orchard towns that dot the area along Lake Ontario, shaking them down for documentation with little cause other than the color of their skin and hair.

There has been an ongoing wink-and-nod sanctioning this practice between the border patrol brass and its agents, despite the constant pleas of the tree fruit industry leaders and local political representatives—including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer—to make it stop.”

Perhaps the real problem that is coming to a head because of the Arizona law is the fact that states are taking on federal responsibilities and are passing their own laws to deal with the federal government’s problems. Texas will be next and then other border states will follow. Although racial profiling goes against all civil liberties that the United States is supposed to defend, the fact that congress continues to fail to act may be equally harmful.

Yesterday, our president commented that he does not think that congress has the appetite to take on immigration reform, because they are tired and worn out after health care reform and now the Wall Street legislation. They are not hungry because of the midterm elections!

Maybe the hype in Arizona will continue to raise the awareness of the needs for immigration reform and maybe open the door for a taste of reform with Ag JOBS.

That’s all for now!

Jim