The agriculture industry is experiencing a critical shortage of labor to plant and harvest crops. To address the agriculture labor shortage, Congress must approve and the president must sign an immigration reform bill that includes a viable guestworker program and provide an opportunity for the currently improperly-documented workforce to obtain legal work status. Those provisions must be signed into law and fully implemented before any mandatory enforcement program is required.
Mandatory E-Verify without a solution for ag will cause significant harm to American farmers and force the U.S. to import greater and greater amounts of our food and fiber. To avoid a full-blown crisis in agriculture where product either rots in the field or production shifts to overseas competitors, U.S. potato growers support efforts to ensure that agricultural employers have access to a stable and skilled workforce, including current workers without U.S. citizenship.
NPC is working with the Agriculture Workforce Coalition in meeting with House and Senate leadership and member offices on a viable solution for agriculture. Agriculture and the public would benefit from immigration policy that addresses all aspects of the problem in the appropriate sequence. Implementation of Mandatory E-Verify or other employer enforcement actions cannot occur until an industry-supported solution for agriculture’s labor crisis is fully implemented and operational. The economic impact of an “enforcement-only” approach would cause tremendous harm to American consumers and the farmers that feed them for years to come.
The House attempted to move forward with an immigration reform package in June 2018 but was unsuccessful in passing either a conservative bill or a compromise. It has been suggested that a vote on agricultural immigration reform may occur later in the summer of 2018, but it is currently unclear where the necessary votes would come from for it to pass the House.
Updated July 2018