South Dakota Rancher Concerned About Latest Immigration Proposal


A KELOLAND rancher has concerns over a new proposal that would scale back immigration to the United States. 

This week, President Donald Trump announced his support of a plan to cut legal immigration to the United States in half. Trump says this plan uses a merit based system only allowing English speaking, skilled workers in the country. 

Jim McGregor is the owner of McGregor Livestock, a ranch that manages over 3,000 cattle. He says overtime as his herd grew so did his need for workers.

“I’ve been here since 1974 and as our business grew and our business got larger we needed employees,” McGregor said.

For the last 15 years McGregor has been hiring Hispanic workers. One of his employees, Manuel Mena has been working for McGregor for nearly ten years.

“I came in 2008” Mena said

When asked what brought him to South Dakota Mena replied…

“I don’t know I was looking for work and a better life,” Mena said.

A move that that could no longer be available for some still in his home country, if the RAISE Act is put into law.  After Hearing about the president’s latest stance on immigration McGregor has some concerns on what President Trump defines as a skilled worker.

“The people who work for me, and the people who work for other dairy and hog operations and feed lots, those people are skilled also, they skilled they are taking care of our nation’s food supply,” McGregor said.

McGregor says workers like Mena make his operation possible.

“My business would have to change. There is no way I would be able to operate with the amount of cattle and dairy cows and the amount of land I have without these people,” McGregor said.

And working with cattle is not a job that everyone is willing to take.

“No, no one wants to do the jobs that we do,” Mena said.

Mena and other McGregor employees are currently trying to become US Citizens. But Mena says it is a long and expensive process. So far he says he has paid $15,000 in legal fees.

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