April 4, 2017

Western Growers Responds to Justice Department’s Focus on Felons, Not Farmworkers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Fox News last week that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities will be directed toward deporting felons, not farmworkers. Sessions said the Justice Department does not intend to target illegal immigrants who have not committed crimes beyond illegally entering the country.

In response to his statements, Western Growers’ President and CEO Tom Nassif released the following statement:

“We are encouraged by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent statements that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not focus its efforts on illegal immigrants who have, other than entering the country illegally, abided by our nation’s laws. The Attorney General’s comments confirm what we in the agriculture industry have understood to be the Administration’s interior enforcement policy: ICE activities will be directed toward deporting felons, not farmworkers.

“A strong, dependable agriculture industry is the foundation upon which our country has been built, and its continued viability is directly linked to the future prosperity of our citizens. Much of our agricultural productivity is owed to the hard work of foreign hands, in particular the harvesting of our nutritious fruits and vegetables.

“However, agricultural employers are facing a chronic shortage of workers, which is driving production overseas and beyond our control. We cannot afford to exacerbate this problem by threatening to deport our farmworkers, which the Administration clearly understands. Instead, our task is to simultaneously purge our country of illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes while pursuing an immigration reform policy that provides a pathway forward for the men and women who diligently serve our country by toiling in our fields to produce healthy foods.”

For more information, contact Cory Lunde at (949) 885-2264.