Today, the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) and Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United (PCUN) issued a strong response in opposition to Governor Kulongoski’s executive order that would dramatically restrict license requirements for the state’s agricultural workforce.
“Creating a national, universal identification system through the driver’s license program is fundamentally flawed,” said John Aguirre, Executive Director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “The governor’s order creates more problems than it solves. We have to make sure our work force can get to work.”
One major concern is the new requirement for DMV to verify social security numbers for every person who applies for or renews a license. The current online verification system is so flawed that the state of Illinois banned all businesses from utilizing the system to conduct I-9 checks for new employees.
During a morning briefing with the governor’s staff today, the OAN and PCUN issued a challenge to the governor and legislative leaders to work alongside them to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the needs of labor-intensive businesses that depend on foreign workers.
“Our growers share major concerns around the availability of labor. It is essential that this governor demonstrate leadership in securing a legal, willing workforce for these businesses that are essential to Oregon’s economy,” said Aguirre.
“The executive order signed today endangers the public safety of all Oregonians and jeopardizes the economic viability of Oregon’s agriculture community” Ramon Ramirez, President of PCUN. “If Congress had acted responsibly and passed comprehensive immigration reform, this policy would not have the negative impact it does today on the health and vitality of Oregon’s farm worker community.”
The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 1,600wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon's ornamental horticulture industry is the state's largest agricultural commodity, with annual sales of more than $1 billion. For information visit our web site at www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.
OAN Director of Communications