Immigration Reform

Consensus Recommendations

Immigration Reform: Achieving a Stable, Legal Workforce

At a time when demand for U.S. agricultural products is increasing, farmers across the country are hamstrung by an unreliable labor supply. In this land of plenty, it is not uncommon to see unharvested crops spoil in the field due to a shortage of labor. Our current immigration system is widely considered broken and a drag on our country’s economic growth.

AGree envisions a U.S. agriculture system that has a stable, legal workforce including a practical and economically viable guest worker program that allows employers to hire legal foreign workers and protects foreign and U.S. farmworkers. Policy reform is needed that supports both producers and workers, ensuring quality of life, good working conditions, and economic viability. Bipartisan immigration reform will help fix the steady deterioration and vulnerability of our agricultural workforce and maintain the integrity of our national food system.

Strategy: AGree’s Immigration Reform Initiative supports bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform; specifically, our recommendations call for:

  • Bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform, with particular emphasis on food and agriculture workers
  • Policies that meet the needs of and are fair to both producers and farmworkers
  • Reform that provides a path to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., particularly those working in the food and agriculture sectors
  • Development of a simple, efficient, and fair guest worker program that allows producers to hire seasonal foreign workers

In addition, AGree has advocated for passage of authorizing legislation that recognizes the importance of agriculture and food systems development assistance to developing countries’ economic security, social and environmental sustainability, and the achievement of a hunger-free world. Such an approach encourages agricultural and economic development in the home countries of immigrants.

Consensus Recommendations:

AGree will continue to advocate with and convene diverse groups in food and agriculture who care about immigration reform, make the case to the administration and Congress for sensible reform that benefits workers and producers, and advocate for bipartisan legislation in keeping with our principles and recommendations.

Related Publications

Recent Demographic Trends in Nonmetropolitan America:

This Executive Summary examines demographic trends in rural America and implications for rural communities and policymakers alike. Overall population growth in rural America slowed precipitously in the last decade, and much of the growth that is occurring is fueled by minorities as the nation becomes increasingly diverse. Policies to address the needs of rural America must take account of both the growing diversity and regional differences in trends — some remote rural places, including traditional agricultural counties, are seeing deaths out number births, while other places are seeing retirement-driven growth or new, more diverse populations. By Kenneth M. Johnson. 7 pages. November 2012.

Facing the Future: Critical Challenges to Food and Agriculture:

The four papers in this series describe the critical challenges AGree believes are facing the food and agriculture system. They articulate the important facts, issues, and questions that need to be addressed. 54 pages. May 2012.

Vision, Mission and Principles:

Document includes AGree’s vision for 2030, its mission, and six principles that AGree will use to guide its work. 3 pages. May 2012.

Challenges and Strategies:

This document describes four interconnected challenges confronting the global food and agriculture system. The challenges necessitate changes in U.S. policy and demand innovative private sector and civil society actions. To address these challenges, AGree has identified a comprehensive framework of strategies that, together, address the four challenges. 33 pages. May 2012.