Statement by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition on the Bipartisan Senate Immigration Principles

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2013)—“The principles put forward today by a bipartisan group of eight Senators serves as an important first step as Congress begins the task of crafting legislation to address the issue of immigration. Each of these eight Senators should be commended for the leadership and thoughtfulness shown in moving to address this issue, one of particular importance to agriculture.

“The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) is heartened that the group’s principles recognize the unique labor needs of production agriculture and the vital role that immigrant farm workers play in feeding all Americans. Quite simply, American agriculture as we know it would not be possible without the contributions of more than 1.5 million hired workers each year. As such, the Senate principles reflect a major step in the right direction.

“The AWC remains committed to the goal of ensuring that America’s farms, ranches and other agricultural operations have access to a stable and skilled workforce. Especially important, from our perspective, is that legislation must address our future workforce needs with a modern guest worker visa program, in addition to providing an adjustment in immigration status for current experienced workers. This position is also fully consistent with the principles outlined by the Senators.

“As this process begins, the AWC looks forward to working with both members of Congress and the Administration to ensure that America’s farmers have access to the workers they need to maintain their productivity and competitiveness.”

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There is a shortage of U.S. workers willing and able to perform farm work. Farmers, ranchers and growers need a new way to ensure that they can find reliable, skilled, hardworking employees.