Idaho Dairymen's Association

Immigration Reform


Immigration Reform

Our belief: Doing well by doing good

The Idaho Dairymen’s Association believes that one of its most impactful social initiatives revolves around promoting and protecting our state’s talented and hardworking employees. Some of the most reliable dairy labor is foreign born. The individuals who make up that population help our dairy industry succeed in the global market every day.

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Our stance

The immigrant community, that rural Idaho is so dependent on, needs leaders to stand against any legislation that puts the burden on the state to enforce immigration laws. The State does not have the authority to address the urgent need for immigration reform that would provide legal status for those who have demonstrated that they are filling a void in labor shortages and contributing economically to Idaho. Our position is rooted in the belief that immigration reform needs to be fiscally and morally sound for Idaho and our country. 

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We support immigration legislation that improves the stability of agricultural labor. Any immigration reform legislation must include the following provisions:

  1. An affordable and efficient guest worker program that ensures the continued availability of immigrant labor for all agriculture, including dairy.
  2. Allows immigrants currently employed or with recent employment history in the U.S. to earn the right to work legally, without having to go back to their country of origin.
  3. The responsibility for ultimate verification of the legal status of a worker lies with the government, not the employers.


  • IDA has worked in congress for 12 years to address immigration reform.
  • The latest Department of Labor Agriculture Worker Survey data shows that nearly 50% of the agricultural workforce lacks proper documentation.
  • The dairy industry does not have access to a visa program; nor do other industries.
  • It is illegal for the dairy industry to utilize the H2A program.
  • The agriculture industry (including dairy) and other industries that utilize foreign born labor are hiring workers that present proper documentation of their legal status.
  • The economic viability of rural Idaho has become dependent on foreign born labor.

MCClure CEnter research: Refugees in idaho


Idaho has been formally involved with refugee resettlement since 1975. At that time, Governor John Evans joined many other governors in establishing a resettlement program to support Indochinese refugees fleeing unstable states in Southeast Asia. Since then, Idaho’s resettlement efforts have grown and now involve multiple partnerships to support the well-being of refugees. The report provides key information about Idaho’s refugees and the screening process to which they are subject. The link below will provide you with more information regarding research about refugees in Idaho and the community impacts of dairy workers.



Mcclure center research: Community impacts of dairy workers


In this study, conducted in 2016, the McClure Center analyzed the demographic, social, and economic impacts that dairy workers have on communities in Idaho. The study area included six counties in south central Idaho, commonly known as the Magic Valley. This relatively rural region is home to 74% of Idaho’s on-farm dairy jobs, 70% of its dairy cows, and 10% of its residents. Compared to Idaho as a whole, the Magic Valley is more heavily Hispanic, has a Hispanic population that is more likely to be foreign-born, and has a foreign-born population that is more likely to speak Spanish.