Agreement has been reached on a framework for immigration reform that includes provisions for agricultural guest workers.
While not releasing specific details of the agreement, the Agriculture Workforce Coalition said in an April 12 release that the coalition, the United Farm Workers and key U.S. senators agreed on a framework agreement that will now be translated to legislative language.
The agreement includes provisions for wages for several categories of employees, including field workers, dairy and livestock workers, graders and sorters and equipment operators, said Tom Nassif, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers. Nassif said a cap on agricultural guest worker visas has also been negotiated.
“We have total agreement on the document which is going to be going to the ‘Gang of Eight’ (senators) for their consideration and we’re waiting to see the legislative language so we are all comfortable that it reflects what we believe we have agreed to,” Nassif said.
He said negotiations have been intense since April 7 and concluded on the afternoon of April 12.
“Assuming we get this passed into law, I can say unequivocally that we have made history today,” Nassif said.
“As members of Congress begin the process of drafting legislative language, we look forward to working with them to ensure that the bill details reflect the goals and intent of this framework agreement, the coalition said in a statement.
“The AWC appreciates the efforts of Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch and Michael Bennet in helping to foster this agreement between agriculture employers and farm workers,” the group said in the statement.