Reform may cost farmers
Flower growers worry about losing laborers to future immigration laws
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Without them, Mellano’s cut-flower business, founded 80 years ago by his immigrant father, probably wouldn’t survive.
It’s already part of a vanishing breed in the United States. Foreign competition, spurred by relaxed trade barriers and improved shipping methods, has driven many U.S. flower growers out of business.
But the latest threat is coming from Mellano’s own country. Congress is considering the most sweeping overhaul to immigration laws in decades. A public hearing by the U.S. House International Relations Committee is scheduled for today in San Diego, about 60 miles south of his fields.
Mellano knows anything that makes it harder for him to find or keep workers could shut him down for good.
Mellano, an affable man who moves easily between English and Spanish, follows the law: He requires job applicants show proof they are allowed to work in the United States and says he rejects obvious forgeries. But a 1986 law doesn’t require that he verify the authenticity of work documents.