Tom Nassif, president and CEO
Western Growers, Irvine, Calif.
In addition to our work in the Senate, we have been working with House members for almost two years, even before the Senate passed legislation, to craft an immigration solution that can pass that chamber.
We have not demanded a path to citizenship, but rather that some kind of legal status be given to our current workforce so the produce industry would not see significant disruption in our workforce.
Our position in regard to a “special path to citizenship” in the Senate and in the House has been that we are supportive of whatever solution the political process can bear, but we cannot support a solution that deports many of the workers in our operations.
We have worked with House Republican members across the political spectrum, those who would prefer a comprehensive approach and those who would prefer a piece-meal or more enforcement-focused approach.
We asked the House for a pathway to legalization so House and Senate could then argue their differences in conference.
So, while Packer Editor Greg Johnson has chosen the perspective that the produce industry has a “take it or leave it” approach in regard to the Senate passed legislation, that is simply not true (“Industry needs to engage House GOP on immigration”).
I, along with other industry leaders, negotiated an agriculture section in the Senate legislation that could work for our industry.
We also recognize that the House has the prerogative to pass its own versions of legislation, but pass something they must, and pass something they have failed to do.