Today, the Senate passed S. 744, with the agricultural agreement between the AWC and UFW intact. The final vote was 68 to 32. After passage of the legislation, Western Growers CEO and President Tom Nassif made the following statement.
“We thank the senators who voted in support of S. 744 today. For some it was an act of courage and statesmanship to do so, but a necessary step to fix an intractable problem that has adversely affected the economy, the integrity of our borders and the lives of millions of individuals seeking a better future. We look forward to the passage of a companion measure in the House of Representatives soon that will deal with this critical issue the way it should be dealt with, in a conference committee. Our immigration system is broken. Without leadership and courage from our elected representatives and workable new legislation to correct these problems, it cannot be fixed. The hardworking farmers, farm workers and workers from every affected industry deserve a new immigration system from its elected representatives. Anything less than an earnest effort to solve this problem would be a breach of office."
Additionally, the Agricultural Workforce Coalition, of which WG is a member, lauded the passage of this historic agreement, stating:
"The Senate’s action today in approving comprehensive immigration reform is a landmark achievement in agriculture’s effort to ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers have access to a legal, skilled and stable workforce. Over the past six months, the Agriculture Workforce Coalition has come together with the United Farm Workers (UFW) union to develop an agricultural immigration proposal that is reflected in S. 744. The provisions contained in the legislation address the status of agriculture’s current skilled and experienced workers and would institute a new, market-based visa program to fix this issue once and for all going forward.”
Western Growers applauds the Senators involved in crafting the agriculture agreement and also supporting final passage of this legislation: Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Rubio (R-FL), Hatch (R-UT) and Bennet (D-CO). Additionally, long-time champions of Western Growers, Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Flake (R-AZ) played a critical role in crafting the bipartisan comprehensive bill and garnering the support for passage in the Senate.
Today’s action in the Senate is a critical step toward a workable solution for agriculture’s immigration crisis becoming law. With activity on immigration legislation completed in the Senate, the focus now turns to the House. House Republican leadership will be meeting on July 10 with all House Republicans to discuss next steps that chamber will take on immigration legislation. House members will be at home next week during the 4th of July recess, this presents a critical moment to tell your Representative the importance of passing immigration reform legislation in the House.
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