The following is a statement from Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, regarding the Senate Judiciary passage of the immigration reform bill.
“The time is long overdue for our nation to have a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation. The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed a balanced immigration reform bill today that included a fair and workable farm labor provision that sets the stage for Senate action beginning next month.
“The success of American agriculture depends on the workers who show up every day and work in partnership with our nation’s farm and ranch families to tend our crops and livestock. Agricultural labor reform is not about whether foreign workers will grow and harvest our food. That is a matter of fact. It is about whether those foreign workers will tend crops here in the United States, or in their home countries. We believe American food grown on American soil is the best option.
“We believe this bill will help ensure an adequate supply of farm labor but also will provide an increased level of surveillance of high-risk areas along our borders. We know that one of the best ways to improve border security is to create a legal, workable way for farm workers to enter our country. If we do not have to waste resources locking up lettuce harvesters, we can focus on keeping those with criminal intentions out of our country.
“This is shaping up to potentially be a banner year for public policy advances related to agriculture, and we are pleased to be a part of that process. Efforts to win farm labor reform, make progress on the farm bill and upgrade our nation’s waterway shipping system are setting the table for what could be a great year for agricultural policy.”