Late last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency served notices of inspection on five Vermont dairy farms, asking the farms to provide records proving their workers are legal (or documented to work in this country).  Read more.

That has many farms concerned about a new law-enforcement effort.

“If all of a sudden my guys were gone tomorrow, it would be really hard to operate,” one dairy farmer told Vermont Public Radio. Read the transcript or listen to a podcast here.

Immigration reform has taken second priority to the economy, health-care reform and even energy policy. But, on Nov. 13, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that immigration reform would be a priority of the Obama Administration early next year. She outlined a “three-legged stool” approach: (1) tougher enforcement laws against illegal immigrants and employers who hire them, (2) a streamlined system for legal immigration and (3) a tough and fair pathway to earned legal status. Makes sense, but will it happen? Good luck trying to get something passed on such a contentious issue in an election year. Very likely, nothing will get passed. Dairy farmers will be left in further limbo as the government continues to pursue its schizophrenic enforcement policy. — Tom Quaife, editor