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Are immigration policies working in the Treasure Valley?

Immigration policies are at the top of the list of Presidential politics.
Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 27, 2024

IDAHO — Immigration policies are at the top of the list of Presidential politics, so Idaho News 6 spoke to locals about what’s working and what’s not in the Treasure Valley.

  • Henggeler Packing Company in Fruitland says a work visa program is helping to keep the 100 year old company alive and strong.
  • Malheur County Sheriff expresses some concerns about border crossings.
  • A.C.L.U. of Idaho explains the SOMOS program and how it impacts Idaho.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

When we traveled to the Henggeler Packing plant in Fruitland last year Third generation apple producer Kelly Henggeler talked specifically how the H-2- A Visa program is ‘working ‘for the facility that has been growing fruit for over 100 years and packaging fruit for almost 70 years. Without it Keely says. “We couldn’t do it without them Don, if we didn’t have this program we wouldn’t be doing this interview.” H-2-A allows American agricultural farmers to hire temporary, dependable seasonal labor legally and easily.

In Vale, Oregon, the Malhuer County Sheriff has some major concerns about the immigration policies. “What’s ‘not working ‘ is the amount of drugs flowing over our border that’s probably the biggest issue we’re dealing with fentanyl coming over.” Being at the west end of the Treasure Valley, Owyhee County Sheriff Travis Johnson says he works closely with Idaho County Sheriffs. We share the same criminals, a lot of times the bad actors, and we share the same drugs.”

Governor Brad Little is very much aware of the drug issues at the southern border. In May of 2023, Governor Little announced the deployment of two teams of Idaho State Police troopers to the Texas border to assist in their efforts to secure the border and enhance the knowledge of our law enforcement techniques through hands-on experience with cross-border smuggling, human trafficking, and drug interdiction.

But since Oregon is a sanctuary state, Johnson is restricted from helping federal authorities with immigration enforcement. Across the border, Idaho House Bill 753 was introduced this year that would have allowed local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of individuals and allows for a magistrate judge to order people who violate the bill to return to country of origin. The bill never made it out of the Senate.

And even though the A.C.L.U. of Idaho keeps a close eye at what’s happening in Washington they’re more concerned about what’s happening here at the Statehouse. Ruby Mendez-Mota explains. “The Latina community is very much aware of what’s happening at a state level.” Mendez-Mota, the daughter of immigrants, says the ACLU of Idaho launched the “SOMOS” Program aimed at cultivating Latino leaders to address pressing community issues, and designed. “To really craft messaging by community for community so all individuals understand why immigrants are vital for Idahoans and really start changing the narrative, negative narrative both nationally and locally who are immigrant community is and not painting us with one brush stroke.”

I asked Johnson what he wants to hear from the Presidential candidates on the issue. “I want to hear that they’re going to tighten the security at our border and start shutting down this mass influx of people we don’t know who they are, and the purpose they’re coming here.”

What changes happen to our immigration policies of November, we’ll all and to wait and see.