Statement from Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif on President Obama’s immigration executive action:
“We cannot yet assess the full impact of the president’s actions on agriculture, but we know this: Congress must reassert its constitutional authority to make laws and pass immigration reform legislation critical to the needs of our industry and the nation. Some in Congress will argue that the president’s action must be met with a legislative response to block bad policies, but preventing the implementation of executive actions alone is not enough. These actions by the president should also serve as a catalyst for Congress to lead by passing meaningful immigration reform legislation. To achieve meaningful reform legislation:
- Agriculture’s needs must be a top priority to ensure our existing workforce is given an incentive to continue working in agriculture until a new and better visa program is in place. The value of agricultural workers to our country’s economy and food production system must be recognized with a path to legal status that acknowledges their past service and ongoing importance to this industry.
- An effective border security bill should be passed immediately, and it should accept that securing our borders is an ongoing and continuous commitment. While we need effective metrics for demonstrating progress, there is no ‘completion date’ for securing the border. Holding immigration reform hostage to arbitrary and momentary assessments of the border situation should be rejected.
- Both parties and both chambers of the Congress must work together towards solutions. While Republicans are in control, we believe any legislation will require bipartisan support, and we expect our leaders to forge such agreement.
- We will oppose any piecemeal legislative package that fails to put the agriculture industry at the front of the line. Our industry is in jeopardy. We expect no less than specific solutions that address problems unique to our industry.”