Statement on the House Immigration Subcommittee Hearing on H.R. 2847: The “American Specialty Agriculture Act”
We are encouraged that Congress is considering a new program for the immigrant workers who are essential to America’s farms, which generate over $360 billion in annual sales and countless additional jobs in related industries, from manufacturing farm supplies to packing and shipping produce. But the current H-2A program that permits farmers to hire foreign workers is broken. Bureaucratic and unpredictable, the H-2A program provides less than 5 percent of the seasonal workforce our farms need – leaving the illegal labor pool to supply an estimated 75 percent of their workers. If American farms lack a legal workforce, many may curtail or close operations, jeopardizing countless additional American jobs. Congress must establish a new program that is large enough to meet the market demand, protects the rights of both American and foreign workers, and has the flexibility to meet the needs of a business dictated by seasons and weather. In agriculture, as in many sectors of the economy, the reality is clear: Growing the American economy and boosting employment demands smarter immigration policies from Washington.
About the Partnership for a New American Economy
The Partnership for a New American Economy is a national bipartisan group of more than 300 mayors and CEOs making the economic case for sensible immigration reform. The Partnership’s members include mayors who represent over 33 million residents in large and small cities across the country and business leaders who employ almost 4 million people in all sectors of the economy. The Partnership believes that to compete in the 21st century global economy, America needs an immigration system that secures our borders and attracts and keeps the best, brightest and hardest working from around the world.
The Partnership’s Co-Chairs are Steven A. Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation; Robert Iger, President and CEO, Walt Disney Co.; J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc.; Jim McNerney, Chairman, President and CEO of Boeing; Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, CEO and Founder of News Corporation; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York; Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio; Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix; Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.