Poultry processing plants have come to rely on immigrant labor to remain fully staffed. Poultry trade organizations have been actively presenting the processors’ position that any immigration reform legislation needs to maintain access for companies to a legal stable workforce. Many poultry farmers have also become reliant on immigrant labor.
Guest workers and recent immigrants are widely used throughout production agriculture, and poultry farming is no different. Members of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR) traveled to Capitol Hill recently to voice concerns to lawmakers. ACIR said that its members’ message to congress is simple: “the lack of a stable workforce, coupled with immigration enforcement, constitutes an absolute threat to the survival of the American farm.”
Maureen Torrey, an eleventh generation farmer, said, “Agriculture needs Congress to act on immigration reform now. We need access to a reliable and affordable guest worker program and an opportunity for trained, experienced and otherwise law-abiding farm workers to have the chance to continue working and to earn the right to become permanent legal residents of the USA.”Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers said, “The last best chance for immigration reform in the foreseeable future is upon us. If Congress does not move on this critical issue, then this country will have lost its best opportunity to fix our broken immigration policy for at least several years.”