Homeland Security says it will start cracking down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. That includes farm workers in Wisconsin.
Tom Thieding at the Farm Bureau says they estimate nearly thirty-six thousand farm workers are foreign born. That's about half the workforce. But they have no idea how many are giving farmers false information.
Thieding says farmers must get social security and other information from workers, pass it on to Washington which in turn notifies farmers if the worker is legal.
But Thieding says the government's records aren't always right. And that's why the bureau wants protections for farmers who act in good faith but discover later they may have hired illegals who didn't tell the truth.
Is there a fear of increased Homeland Security raids on farms? Thieding says they're not sure but that's one of the topics that will come up when farm bureaus hold a conference call later Wednesday with Homeland Security.
Thieding says keeping a stable workforce is always a challenge for farmers and the crack down will make it even more challenging.