Piling On the Push for Immigration Overhaul

Source: Politico Pro July 2, 2021 Ryan McCrimmon and Ximena Bustillo   “The National Pork Producers Council is the latest industry group pressing Congress to come up with a solution for worsening labor shortages to be fixed by foreign workers. On Thursday, the group launched its “Year Round Pork Needs Year-Round Workers” campaign to highlight the need for a stable workforce. Like many agricultural sectors, pork production remains highly dependent on foreign workers. The NPPC is asking Congress to expand H-2A visas, intended for seasonal hires, to year-round labor. It also urges lawmakers to provide a pathway to citizenship for agricultural workers already in the country with a work history. “There are not enough people who want to work in agriculture to fill the jobs that we have,” said Michael Springer, a hog farmer from Independence, Kan. “People want to eat 365 days a year. Our current seasonal visa program does not work for livestock production because it does not put people on our farm 365 days a year to take care of the animals.” The only option on the table with a viable path to passage is the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. While many groups think the bill is a step in the right direction, it still includes caps on H2-A visas and has other points of contention.  MA readers may recall that the bill passed the House with flying colors of bipartisan support but has since stalled in the Senate. Though Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) have vowed to introduce their own version, getting enough Republicans on board amid heated immigration debates remains a heavy lift.”

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