Fresno conservative group fighting president-elect's proposal for mass deportation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Many in Valley Agriculture supported Donald Trump's candidacy. Now many are hoping he is not as hard on undocumented immigrants as he said he would be.

Former Republican Congressman George Radanovich is now president of the Fresno based California Fresno Fruit Association, and fruit growers rely on undocumented labor to pick their crops.

"We encourage President-Elect Trump to secure the borders but while he's doing that he can't leave fruit on the vine when it's ripe."

The message from a group of farm, business, political and church leaders is to push the Trump administration in the direction of humane immigration reform.

Rev. Gilbert Montelongo of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Council acknowledged the panic Trump has created.

"There's no need to place fear in the hearts of children, families, and parents and that's the last thing we need to do."

Manuel Cunha, President of the Nisei Farmers League, said he is hopeful because Trump is already backtracking on some of his campaign promises.

"He may not have a full 500 foot fence up in the air."

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said she will cooperate with the new administration but vowed not to help with immigration raids.

"Local law enforcement should not be involved in immigration sweeps. We should not be involved in going out to businesses to check the legality of immigrant workers."

However, Mims said if she would maintain allowing federal agents in the county jail to identify criminal aliens for deportation. Something Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties do not allow.

Former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry is part of the coalition and said he believes Trump will listen to reason.

"I believe we give him a chance he's not dictator. Trump-- he's President-Elect, soon to be President Trump. I think the common sense aspect will prevail, that's my hope, I have a lot of faith in congress."

Members of this coalition for immigration reform are counting on help from the Valley's conservative Republican members of congress to bend the President-Elect's ear on the need to pass a comprehensive immigration reform measure, but without deporting the workers they need.
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