A long time leader of an equine association says Kentucky Thoroughbred breeders could benefit from an extension in immigrant guest worker visas. David Switzer, Director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, participated in the "Day of Action for Immigration Reform" Wednesday. Switzer says his group would like to see a new type of visa that would lengthen seasonal time for the workers to three years. “Then they can return home, spend a year back and home and then possible qualify to come back for another three years," said Switzer.
Switzer says the current law calls for these workers to return home every nine to ten months. He says his industry's number one priority is legal documented workers. Switzer believes current concerns about growing numbers of young Latin Americans crossing the U.S. border will take precedence over any potential action on immigration reform.
University of Kentucky officials also participated in the “Day of Action,” saying the school is interested in immigration reforms to impact both teachers and students from other countries. UK Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Mark Kornbluh says professors are required to return home as a way to continue their teaching profession here in the U.S. "We need a way for these employees to be able to revalidate their visas to stay here, not always have to leave the country to do this and to transition to being here a longer period of time," said Kornbluh.
Kornbluh would also like to see changes in the so-called “green card” program, saying such reforms could benefit international students upon graduation from a Kentucky university. Kornbluh says it would help ensure these grads could remain in-state as they begin their careers.