TULSA - Farmers and growers rely heavily on seasonal workers to help bring in their crops, but current immigration law makes it hard for those workers to come to the country legally, which both exacerbates illegal immigration and hits consumers in the pocket book.
Current law prevents those workers from working for more than one employer, and forces them to wait six months for another visa, greatly reducing the amount they can expect to earn if they follow the law.
The other problem is timing, as Kent Livesay of Livesay Orchards in Porter, Oklahoma points out.
The harvest period can vary by several weeks from year-to-year.
The current system, Livesay says, is preventing him from expanding his business.
And many argue that U.S. labor unions are blocking any attempts at common sense reforms, which would include a workable and easily understood guest worker program.
Other farmers say the government is "harrassing" them and preventing them from creating jobs for people, including migrant workers.
Ultimately, the inability to expand and produce larger crops means consumers pay more at the grocery store because of the law of supply and demand.
So, proponents of reform say it's time to allow guest workers to have more than one employer, and to let them enter and leave the country more easily.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau says the illegal immigration problem can be handled through economic means, instead of law enforcement.