The International Fresh Produce Association expressed extreme disappointment that Congress failed to include bipartisan agriculture immigration reform in the omnibus appropriations bill.
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 needing reliable, legal workers. 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.
“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. Additionally, IFPA joined with hundreds of agriculture organizations actively supporting the bill and pushing Senate leadership to bring up the Affordable and Secure Food Act (ASFA),” said IFPA’s chief policy officer Robert Guenther. “Congress missed a huge opportunity to improve production and increase the legal supply of labor. Because of this, consumers will continue to see record prices at the grocery store, producers will continue to face unaffordable, unpredictable input costs from wage hikes, and we will continue down the path to being a nation that is increasingly food insecure. We implore the Senate not to walk away from this effort before they adjourn.”
The ASFA was introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who named IFPA as one of the bill’s top supporters during a floor speech Monday evening. Sen. Bennet and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) held a press conference late last week where they rolled out Senate legislation that aims to provide reliable, legal farm labor, lower food prices for American families, and secure the U.S. food supply.
IFPA remains deeply committed to leading the push for Congress to reform immigration for the agriculture and food industry. It is 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 Bennet, who understand what is at stake for farms and food and boldly pushed for passage of immigration reform in the 117th Congress.