A year ago, Arizona’s legislature took unilateral action to stem the illegal flow of human traffic across its border with Mexico.

The action, known legally as SB 1070, in essence, gave law-enforcement officials more latitude to check people’s immigration status.

Supporters say it simply allowed the state to enforce existing federal immigration statutes. Some of the more vocal opponents across the U.S. called for a boycott of Arizona businesses.

Some produce shippers and industry leaders in the region said that made them a bit nervous, and they’re hoping the new Congress tackles immigration reform.

But industry officials say they’re not counting on any action at the federal level.

“The ideal solution for the U.S. is to have immigration reform that allows guest workers to come across with some sort of special permit that doesn’t make it such a problem, where they have to skirt the law to sneak into the country,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

“If there was a situation where they were reasonably assured that they could come up here for x-number of months and then go back to Mexico and come back and do the same thing next year without any hassle, it would change the face of this country in terms of the border issues that you see, the violence you see along the border. Immigration reform would be interesting, even though it doesn’t directly affect any of our vendors. They don’t bring employees across from the Mexican side; they all live here.”

Jungmeyer added federal immigration reform likely would have more practical effects in an area like McAllen, Texas.

“McAllen is different because there aren’t any growers in the Nogales region,” he said. “The warehouses employ people either here year-round or the majority of the year and it’s the same people every year, and there are people who live here.”

The flap over 1070 is overblown, said Chris Ciruli, partner with Nogales-based Ciruli Bros.

“I’d say by and large most of the border issues that you see in the media are rhetoric, and they don’t understand what’s going on in Arizona,” he said, adding that the focus on security is overhyped.

Security applies to everybody in the region, Ciruli said.

“We’re stopped on a daily basis,” he said. “My kids get stopped on the way to school. People don’t understand that border checks are not only at the border but within the border. That’s been one of the main fights of people living here. They’re saying, ‘Hey, we want a secure border but we want it at the border and not further north.’ So, it’s part of what you have learned to live with, and it certainly hasn’t gotten better. With funding of what they’ve got, you’d think the problem solving getting better, and it doesn’t.”

Mark Munger, vice president of marketing with San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, said he hesitates to predict what, if anything, Congress would do about immigration.

“It is really hard to know what Congress will do,” he said. “The Republican Party has really got to get its hands around what it wants from immigration reform. The Hispanic population is becoming a powerhouse force. They really need to look at it. For us, a steady qualified labor force is important.”

Jon Esformes, operating partner in the Nogales office of Palmetto, Fla.-based Pacific Tomato Growers, said the issue hasn’t really touched produce shippers in Arizona.

“We haven’t really run into much of that,” he said. “We may be Arizona companies in that we’re doing business in Arizona. The guys at the border, myself included, we’re basically distribution centers. Our job is to move product around the country. Everybody in business knows that.”

He said it’s more a political issue than business-oriented. “No one has called me and said they don’t want to load tomatoes out of Nogales because Arizona’s passed an immigration law,” he said.

“And I always do carry my ID in Arizona.”