Statement of NCFC CEO Chuck Conner on Pending Immigration Executive Order Announcement

Washington, DC (November 20, 2014)–“While the exact impact that the President’s executive order on immigration will have on agriculture remains to be seen, the fact still stands that legislation is needed to provide a durable solution to the labor shortages being experienced by farmers, ranchers and growers.

“For what appears to be a small subset of current agricultural workers, the President’s actions will alleviate some pressure in the short term but does not offer these workers, their families, their communities or their employers the long term assurance they deserve. To mix metaphors, we as a country should not bring people out of the shadows only to let them twist in the wind.

“To meet future agricultural labor needs, the H-2A program remains broken beyond repair and a new, streamlined and market-based visa program is needed. Both of these goals—certainty for current workers and a working visa program for the future—can only be achieved through congressional action.

“Throughout the immigration reform debate over the past two years, NCFC has tried to embody the spirit of cooperation and consensus building that is needed to find a practical, common sense solution to this seemingly intractable problem. Over the next few weeks, these virtues will likely be in short supply on both sides of the partisan divide. A debate over the process used to enact these immigration changes, even when loud and emotion filled, will ultimately be healthy for our democracy. But when that debate is over, America’s farmers still face an unprecedented labor crisis. We hope that the start of the 114th Congress gives policy makers the chance to turn the page on this issue and we urge all of them—Republican and Democrat, Congress and the Administration—to find a way to come together and work collaboratively to address agricultural immigration reform.”

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