July 23, 2018 — An unprecedented number of agriculture groups have endorsed the bipartisan AG and Legal Workforce Act. More than 200 agriculture groups support the bill including dairy, horse, cattle, sheep, chicken, pork, turkey, wine, aquaculture, corn, seafood and processing interests. They all believe the AG and Legal Workforce Act is the only solution for the foreseeable future to ensure a viable workforce. While a few out-liar agriculture groups do not support the bill, the time is now to provide agriculture with a reliable workforce.
Speaker Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin is the nation’s second-largest milk-producing state, with annual sales of nearly $5 billion (NASS, 2017 State Agriculture Overview). In order to sustain our existing operations, we must have the means to a legal visa program.
“It’s easy for some in agriculture who are currently allowed to use the H-2A visa program to attack and oppose the only foreseeable solution for the rest of us. Without a bill passing, we have nothing except fear and trepidation that we will continue to see stepped-up enforcement and distressed businesses,” according to Laurie Fischer, American Dairy Coalition.
In late June, House Leadership made a commitment to several members of Congress for a separate July vote on an immigration guest-worker bill that will allow all of agriculture, including dairy, poultry, cattle, pork, seafood, etc., to be part of a new visa program called the H-2C. The H-2C doesn’t just help one sector of the agriculture industry, but all of us and will allow immigrant workers to come out of shadows by providing them a legal visa — but only after they are vetted by Homeland Security.
The fact that the dairy industry has been suffering from a lack of federal immigration policy for over 30 years demands that the Speaker of the House must allow a vote this week.
The American Dairy Coalition’s 30,000 producers represented throughout the United States are strongly urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring the AG and Legal Workforce Act to the floor before the members of the House of Representatives leave Washington, D.C. this Friday.
As interior enforcement efforts continue, those who are left without any means to secure a legal workforce are facing disaster. It is now up to Speaker Ryan to decide if the U.S. will end up importing food and putting thousands of domestic jobs at risk or securing a legal workforce we desperately need.
The American Farm Bureau, the National Milk Producer Federation and many other National and State Associations are in support this bill.