March 2, 2022
As part of its strategic commitment to government advocacy and leadership, the International Fresh Produce Association has played a key role in the creation of The Alliance for New Immigration Consensus, a diverse coalition representing the broad business community and focused on addressing workforce reforms and needs that are critical and essential to our nation’s economy.
“Immigration reform is one of our key legislative priorities for 2022, and it’s an issue that affects many inside and outside of production agriculture, as well as the full supply chain and ultimately the consumer” said IFPA Chief Public Policy Officer Robert Guenther. “Unfortunately, it’s also an issue that is emotionally charged and, as a result, true reform has remained elusive. This new coalition consisting of the business community, faith leaders, and advocates from across the political spectrum will focus on building consensus in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to bring forth a long-term solution to a challenge that the agricultural community has been dealing with for years.”
Also representing the fresh produce and floral community with IFPA in the new coalition are the American Horticultural Council and Western Growers who are strong partners with IFPA on immigration reform efforts.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader McCarthy, the coalition called for the enactment of immigration reforms and border security legislation in 2022 that serves both Americans and immigrants. Specifically, the coalition asks Congress to:
- Provide permanent legal protections and other needed reforms for Dreamers, agricultural workers, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders; and
- Adopt a modern approach to securing the border by investing in smart border security and improving infrastructure at ports of entry. Simultaneously, Congress should focus on addressing the urgent need for secure, orderly, and compassionate processing at the border.
In addition to immigration reform, IFPA is also focused on the H-2A program, which is how an overwhelming majority of farms obtain their workforce. H-2A reforms were included as part of the bipartisan 2021 Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R.1603) which passed the House of Representatives last year.
“The House bill is a great first step toward reforms of the status of the current H-2A program, but we need a Senate counterpart,” said IFPA Director of Workforce/Labor John Hollay. “We have prioritized engaging with the Senate to engage in legislation that addressed the Coalitions priorities. Additionally, we will continue to work with the Biden Administration on regulatory reforms including a revised calculation of the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) as well as the relaxation of burdensome administrative requirements to ensure access to a viable workforce.”