During remarks on Monday to attendees of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th anniversary convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, President Donald Trump assured those present that his proposed immigration policies will ease the burden that farmers face in meeting their labor needs.
“I’m going to make it easier for [migrant workers] to come in and work the farms,” Trump told the packed house at the organization’s centennial convention.
“You need these people,” he told a crowd, which cheered its approval.
“For the people that work the farms, that have been here, that have gone through this very short but good process, that are going to help our country, it’s going to be easier for them to get in than what they have to go through now.” He referring to migrant workers; many farmers depend on their labor.
Some of those migrant workers, he explained, have worked on American farms for 20 to 25 years. When they return to their home countries, they’re unable to re-enter the United States. The president assured attendees that no longer has to happen.
Trump used the address in part to draw attention to the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, also touching on other topics of particular importance to farmers, whom he called the “backbone of our country.”
President Trump gets a round of applause when he tells farmers at a New Orleans convention he's going to make it "easier" for people to enter the US to work on farms: "I'm going to make that easier for them to come in … we're keeping the wrong ones out" https://t.co/jdzBjIq0dq pic.twitter.com/p5je20Us9v
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 14, 2019
He noted that the “heroes of ICE and Border Patrol,” whom he met with in McAllen, Texas, last week, made their needs quite clear.
“If you don’t have a strong steel or concrete barrier, there’s no way you’re going to stop these people [illegal immigrants] from rushing [in],” Trump said.
“You can have all the people you want dressed in military [gear]. You can have ICE. You can have Border Patrol. If you don’t have that barrier, there’s not a thing you can do.”
Trump also noted during his address that a new caravan of illegal immigrants is forming in Honduras, and hinted that foreign aid to such countries could be on the chopping block.
“Why are we sending them money if they’re allowing caravans to form right in the middle of their cities?” said Trump. “They don’t help us.”
“We have to get it done … What we’re talking about is common sense,” he added of the 550 miles of wall, including renovated sections, he wants to build.
He also spoke of the tragedy of human trafficking across the southern border, which he said was worse now than it has ever been, due at least in part to the internet. And he noted the horrific risk faced by women and children illegal immigrants, saying a staggering one in three are sexually abused along the way and are exploited by ruthless coyotes.
Of Democrats who refuse to end the shutdown — now in its 24th day — by negotiating with him on funding the wall, Trump said, “They view this as a political thing … They’re only doing this because of the 2020 election.”
“Wheels work and walls work, you know. There are some things you can’t beat. That’s why we’ve asked Congress to fund a steel barrier or whatever you want to call it,” he said. “We need strength. Right now, we have weakness.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation is an “independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being,” according to the group’s website.
The convention in New Orleans was held amid a number of key agriculture-related developments in recent weeks.
Chinese importers made a third large purchase of U.S. soybeans last week as officials from both countries met for face-to-face talks following a 90-day trade war truce that began on December 1, as Reuters reported.
“We’re doing trade deals that will get you so much business, you won’t even believe it. Your problem will be, ‘What do we do? We need more acreage immediately,'” Trump said Monday.
The president signed the most recent, five-year farm bill just before Christmas. That legislation passed with broad bipartisan support.
The bill includes billions of dollars in assistance to farmers and is “monumental legislation that addresses a wide range of areas including farming, nutrition, conservation, trade, energy, and forestry,” as CNN reported.
Early forms of the bill brought criticism, primarily from the Left, for proposed a tightening of eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps benefits). The proposal was dropped in the final form of the bill.
Just before leaving the White House for today’s event, the president tweeted that he was heading to Nashville — the site of last year’s event — rather than New Orleans.
“Getting ready to address the Farm Convention today in Nashville, Tennessee. Love our farmers, love Tennessee — a great combination! See you in a little while,” he tweeted early Monday morning.
The Nashville tweet was quickly deleted, but naturally news outlets and assorted Twitter denizens seized upon the error to lob some predictable jabs, jokes, and wildly inappropriate “diagnoses” of dementia.
"Trump tweets that he’s looking forward to addressing farmers in Nashville. His speech is actually in New Orleans."
*anticipates SNL's next viral video in which Alec Baldwin, playing Trump, says Nashville instead of New Orleans several times*
— Peter Coffin (@petercoffin) January 14, 2019
Thank you MR @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for supporting US agriculture. I was at the event @FarmBureau last year. Couldn't make this it year, it's an amazing experience to listen and see current President of the United States. pic.twitter.com/hY90uzLlQo
— Chad E. Colby (@TheChadColby) January 14, 2019
— Real Nic Allen (@RealNicAllen) January 14, 2019
Started the day in studio at @FOX8NOLA for an interview with @JohnSnellFox8. Good discussion on importance of @POTUS being in NOLA for @FarmBureau Convention, SNAP, trade, and the government #shutdown. pic.twitter.com/mvlw8TJ4d0
— Sec. Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) January 14, 2019
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Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.