In a December 20 press release, which can be read at the International Fresh Produce Association website, the IFPA “expressed extreme disappointment that Congress failed to include bipartisan agriculture immigration reform in the omnibus appropriations bill.”
According to the IFPA, “The Affordable and Secure Food Act to reform the nation’s agricultural immigration system would have provided much-needed certainty for American agricultural producers and farmers desperately in need of reliable, legal workers.” And the IFPA added, “The current omnibus does nothing to address the crippling labor shortage that has had devastating impacts on the nation’s fresh produce industry and American consumers.”
The release said, “Congress has once again failed to deliver the reforms that the fresh produce industry and its agricultural allies have long fought for. IFPA did its part to reach an agreement with advocates for our workers and garnered bipartisan support for compromise legislation.”
In the release, IFPA’s Chief Policy Officer Robert Guenther said, “IFPA joined with hundreds of agriculture organizations actively supporting the bill and pushing Senate leadership to bring up the Affordable and Secure Food Act.”
“Congress missed a huge opportunity and did not do their part to improve production and increase the legal supply of labor. Because of this inaction, consumers will continue to see record prices at the grocery store, producers will continue to face unaffordable, unpredictable input costs from out-of-control wage hikes, and we will continue down the path to being a nation that is increasingly food insecure. We implore the Senate to not walk away from this effort before they adjourn,” said Guenther.
And the release said, “IFPA remains deeply committed to leading the push for Congress to reform immigration for the agriculture and food industry. We are grateful for the efforts of bipartisan leaders in both the House and the Senate including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) who understand what is at stake for farms and food and boldly pushed for passage of immigration reform in the 117th Congress.”