Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of Produce Marketing Association (PMA), has issued a statement in response to news of an agreement to reform US immigration and agricultural guest worker programmes.
He said: After more than a decade of work by our industry, we welcome immigration reform legislation from the US Senate’s 'gang of eight'. Thanks to the efforts of Senators Feinstein, Rubio, Hatch and Bennet, and the round-the-clock work of industry leaders including Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, Chuck Conner, president & CEO of National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and PMA board member Mike Stuart, president of Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. The Senate legislation addresses the critical workforce needs of American agriculture, now and into the future.
The agreement addresses key issues of importance to the produce industry, including:
- Allowing farm workers currently in the country illegally to earn legal US residency by fulfilling a future work requirement in agriculture, among other conditions.
- Creating a new guest worker programme specifically for the agriculture sector.
That said, we aren’t quite ready to declare the work is done. On behalf of our members, PMA will continue to work through the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, of which we are an executive committee member, and the Agricultural Workforce Coalition. The Senate will now consider this agreement as part of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.