IMMIGRATION REFORM, GUEST WORKERS, AND AGJOBS
Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, this afternoon the Judiciary Committee's Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, on which I serve, held an important hearing on immigration and guest worker reform. The hearing focused on broad issues related to temporary guest worker, and especially on the framework for reform proposed recently by the President of the United States.
Our chairman, the Senator from Georgia, Mr. Chambliss, also welcomed statements from several Senators who have introduced bills in this area.
Before this President came into office, the Federal Government led the way as our Nation remained in denial, ignoring both the rapidly growing number of undocumented persons in this country and the increasing dependence of critical sectors of our economy on undocumented workers. Some would say, with justification, that the Nation actually spent the last four decades looking the other way.
Then, a real wake-up call came on September 11, 2001, on the need to manage our borders effectively, and of the failure to do so for many years before.
In the last 2½ years, we have made progress. President Bush has demonstrated tireless leadership on and since September 11. The new Department of Homeland Security has been established to bring rationality to our border, immigration, and homeland security efforts. With the hard work of the administration, our men and women in uniform, and the Congress, our borders are more secure and our homeland is safer.
However, a lot of work remains to be done, as recognized at this hearing.
The President has proposed a framework for guest worker reform. I applaud the administration's repeated assurance that it is not taking any position on any one bill and has no intention to preclude any bill. The President has said he wants to work out the details with Congress, and we are ready to work with him.
I also appreciated the opportunity to highlight the fact that one bill already introduced in Congress is ready to move. We have a vehicle ready to road-test key principles in the President's framework. I also believe this bill is consistent with the broad goals and principles of several of our other colleagues who have introduced broad reform bills.
That bill is AgJOBS-the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act, introduced as S. 1645 and HR 3142. The ranking member of the Immigration Subcommittee, the Senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Kennedy, is the bill's other principal sponsor in the Senate. The principal difference from other bills is that AgJOBS deals with one industry-agriculture.
AgJOBS is a thoroughly-developed product, fitted for the unique needs of agriculture. It represents more than 7 years of work on these issues. It reflects 4 years of tough, bipartisan negotiations. A majority of the Senate are now cosponsors.
This bill gives us the opportunity to use reform in agriculture as the demonstration program that will help us work out the details, anticipate challenges, prevent problems, and fine-tune the mechanics of an economy-wide reform package down the road.
Agriculture also has a unique history of guest worker programs and migrant employment. We have the necessary data and experience to draw on. There is no doubt in the minds of most of us that there really are few American citizens today who want to work, on a seasonal and migrant basis, at the hard physical labor of agriculture. In contrast, in some other industries, there remains the controversy over the availability of willing and qualified domestic workers and concern about their displacement by guest workers.
Agriculture is the industry most impacted by dependence on undocumented workers-not by anyone's design, but by circumstance and necessity. The government's own data-based, incredibly, on self-disclosure by workers, themselves-indicates that more than half of the agricultural work force is undocumented. Responsible private estimates run as high 75 to 85 percent. Farmers are going out of business today because they cannot find legal workers at the times they are needed.
With AgJOBS, we could begin immediately to improve our homeland security-and especially ensure the safety and security of our food supply-by knowing who is planting and harvesting our crops, where they came from, and where they are working.
With AgJOBS, we do not need to wait to start putting an end to the inhumane risks and exploitation suffered by these most vulnerable of workers. Every year, more than 300 persons die in the desert, or in boxcars, or being smuggled in other hazardous transportation. That is not tolerable in a humane society.
AgJOBS takes the same long-term approach consistent with the President's framework and other bills-an improved guest worker program. It also addresses the need for a transition program in the immediate term, by allowing workers the earned adjustment to legal status. This is not amnesty.
This letter brings together employers and workers-from the American Farm Bureau and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the United Farm Workers and the AFL-CIO. Cosigners include the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, worker and legal-service advocates, large and small employers, Latino groups, religious groups, social service organizations, agriculture and other sectors of the economy, immigration issue advocates, and others. Legislation involving major labor and immigration issues simply does not become law, unless it achieves this kind of bipartisan and broad-based consensus
I continue to invite all my colleagues to become cosponsors of AgJOBS and look forward to working with them to move this bill forward this year.
I ask unanimous consent to print into the RECORD a letter of support that Senator Kennedy and I have just received from some 420 organizations-national, state, and local organizations-asking Congress to enact AgJOBS into law expeditiously.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
February 12, 2004.
DEAR MEMBER OF CONGRESS: The undersigned organizations representing a broad cross-section of America join together to support enactment of S. 1645 and H.R. 3142, the Agricultural Job, Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act (AgJOBS). This landmark bipartisan legislation would achieve historic reforms to our nation's labor and immigration laws as they pertain to agriculture. The legislation reflects years of negotiations on complex and contentious issues among employer and worker representatives, and leaders in Congress.
A growing number of our leaders in Congress, as well as the President, recognize that our nation's immigration policy is flawed and that, from virtually every perspective, the status quo is untenable. Nowhere is the status quo more untenable than in agriculture. America needs reforms that are compassionate, realistic and economically sensible-reforms that also enhance the rule of law and contribute to national security. AgJOBs represents the coming together of historic adversaries in a rare opportunity to achieve reforms supportive of these goals, as well as our nation's agricultural productivity and food security.
AgJOBS represents a balanced solution for American agriculture, a critical element of a comprehensive solution, and one that can be enacted now with board bipartisan support. For these reasons, we join together to encourage the Congress to enact S. 1645 and H.R. 3142, the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003, before the 2004 Congressional April Recess.
Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform; American Farm Bureau Federation; National Council of Agricultural Employers, AFL-CIO; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; National Council of La Raza (NCLR); Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF); League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); William C. Velasquez Institute; United Farm Workers (UFW); National Cattlemen's Beef Association; National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; Catholic Charities USA; The Episcopal Church, USA; Farmworker Justice Fund (FJF); American Nursery & Landscape Association; Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP); National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association; Gulf Citrus Growers Association; Gulf Harvesting, Inc.; Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA); Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR); Moark LLC; Turfgrass Producers International; Society of American Florists; MAFO; Monrovia Growers (CA, OR, GA, NC); National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC); National Employment Law Project; Arab American Institute (AAI); National Farm Worker Ministry; National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC); Northeast Farm Credit Regional Council;
OFA-An Association of Floriculture Professionals; Pan American Recruiting; Northwoods Agri Women; Salvadoran American National Network; People for the American Way; Perennial Plant Association; Polish American Congress; Pacific Egg and Poultry Association; Southern Nursery Association; Together in America; Western Carolinas Horticultural Alliance; Yankee Farm Credit; Telamon Corporation; Southern Poverty Law Center; Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network; Housing Assistance Council; Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association; Amanecer (AZ); Arizona Nursery Association; Arkansas Green Industry Association;
Allied Grape Growers (CA); Almond Hullers and Processors (CA); California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers; California Association of Winegrape Growers; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa (CA); California Apple Commission; California Association of Winegrape Growers; Birds Eye Foods; Deere & Company;
Tyson Foods Inc.; Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE); United Egg Producers; National Christmas Tree Association; United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW); United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association; U.S. Apple Association; U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.; Western Growers Association; Western Range Association; Western United Dairymen, Essential Worker Immigration Coalition; Services Employees International Union (SEIU); A. Duda & Sons; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; American Horse Council; General Board of Church and Society, the United Methodist Church; Agricultural Affiliates; Agri-Placements International; Al French, Former USDA Director of Ag Labor Relations;
National Immigration Forum; National Potato Council; New England Apple Council; Cobank; First Pioneer Farm credit; Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (FLOC); National Association of Elected and Appointed Latino Officials (NALEO); American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA); National Chicken Council; National Council of Churches; National Milk Producers Federation; South East Dairy Farmers Association; North East Dairy Producers Association; Northwest Horticultural Council; Wineamerica, the National Association of American Wineries; Winegrape Growers of America; American Jewish Committee (AJA); American Mushroom Institute; Campaign for Labor Rights; Cooperative Producers, Inc.;
Cooperative Three, Inc.; Council of Northeast Farmer Cooperatives; Dairylea Cooperative; American Frozen Food Institute;
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); Franciscan Friars of St. Barbara Province (CA); Harry Singh & Sons (CA); Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association; John Harris Farms Inc. (CA); Korean Resource Center, Los Angeles; Lassen Canyon Nursery, Inc. (CA); Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness; Marin Interfaith Task Force for the Americas; NiSEI Farmers League (CA); Northern California Growers Association; Nursery Growers of Southern California; Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (CA); Raisin Bargaining Association (CA); Ventura County (CA) Farm Bureau; Southern California Ecumenical Council; United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1442 (CA); Universal Immigration Service (CA); Colorado Nursery Association;
Colorado Sugar Beet Growers Association; Estes Valley Multicultural Connections (CO); Northern Colorado Onion Association; Sisters of Loretto (CO); Connecticut Farm Bureau; Connecticut Nursery & Landscape Association; Connleaf, Inc. (CT); H.F. Brown Inc. (CT); The Lyman Farm, Inc. (CT); Delaware Nursery & Landscape Association; Latin American Community Center (DE); Latin American Youth Center (DC); Migrant Legal Action Program (DC); Big Cypress Housing Corporation (FL); Centro Campesino (FL); Carlos Rosario Int'l Career Center and Public Charter School; Caribbean Immigrant Services Inc. (FL); Catholic Charities of Orlando, Inc.; Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations; Everglades Community Association, Inc.;
Everglades Hammock, Incorporated; Fair Food America (FL); Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.; Farmworkers Self-Help (FL); The Fellsmere Community Enrichment Program (FL); Florida Catholic Conference; Florida Citrus Mutual; Florida Citrus Packers, Inc.; Florida Farm Bureau Federation; Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center; Florida Impact; Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association; Florida Nurserymen & Growers Association; Florida Strawberry Growers Association; Fundacion Salvadorena de la Florida; Guatemalan Unity Information Center (FL); Immokalee Multicultural Multipurpose Community Action Agency, Inc. (FL); Indian River Citrus League (FL); Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc. (FL); Live Oak Villas, LLC (FL);
Little Manatee Housing Corporation (FL); Migrant Farmworker Justice Project, Florida Legal Services, Inc.; Mujer (FL); Pinellas Support Committee (FL); Ranch One Cooperative, Inc. (FL); Redlands Christian Migrant Association (FL); Retail Systems Consulting (FL); Sarasota/Manatee Farmworker Supporters; Sisters of the Humility of Mary-Indian River (FL); Skinner Nurseries (FL); Sugar Cane Growers Co-op of Florida; Unite for Dignity, Inc. (FL); Center for Pan Asian Community Services (GA); Georgia Green Industry Association; Georgia Rural Urban Summit; Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs; Idaho Community Action Network; Idaho Farm bureau; Idaho Food Producers; Idaho Grain Producers Association; [Page S1274]
Idaho Migrant Council; Idaho Nursery & Landscape Association; Potato Growers of Idaho; Snake River Farmers Association (ID/MT); Centro Romero (IL); Chicago Jobs With Justice; Conguate (IL); Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ) (IL); Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights (IL); Hispanic Lawyer's Association of Illinois; Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Illinois Landscape Contractors Association; Illinois Migrant Council; Illinois Nurserymen's Association; Immigration Project (IL); Instituto Del Progreso Latino (IL); Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC), Chicago; Law Office of Shirley Sadjadi (IL); Law Office of Douglas W. Worrell, Chtd. (IL); The Midwest Immigrant & Human Rights Center (IL);
Project Irene (IL); The Resurrection Project in Chicago; Central Indiana Jobs With Justice; Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association; Immigration Outreach Office, Catholic Charities/Archdiocese of Dubuque; Immigrant Rights Network of Iowa and Nebraska; Iowa Nursery & Landscape Association; Iowa Project; Sisters of Charity (IA); El Centro, Inc.-Kansas; Kansas Farm Bureau; Kansas Nursery & Landscape Association; Kentucky Nursery & Landscape Association; Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans; Farm Credit of Maine; Maine Nursery & Landscape Association; Angelica Nurseries (MD); Bell Nursery (MD); CASA of Maryland;
Centro de la Comunidad, Inc. (MD); John Shorb Landscaping, Inc. (MD); Maryland Aquatic Nurseries, Inc.; Maryland Nursery & Landscape Association; Migrant and Refugee Cultural Support, Inc. (MIRECS) (MD); Quinn's Kingsville Farms (MD); Robin Hill Farm Nursery (MD); Speakman Nurseries, Inc. (MD); Centro Presente (MA); Irish Immigration Center (MA); Massachusetts Farm Bureau; Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition; Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association; Eastern Michigan University's Bilingual Bicultural Education; Teacher Training Program; Michigan Farm Bureau; Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project; Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association; Leitz Farms LLC (MI); Zelenka Nursery, LLC (MI);
Jewish Community Action (MN); Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association; St. Joseph The Worker Church (MN); Centro San Martin Deporres (MS); Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA!); Office of Hispanic Ministry, Catholic Diocese of Jackson (MS); Rich Smith, Pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Paulding (MS); The Social Concerns Committee of the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi (MS); Daughters of Charity in St. Louis (MO); Human Rights Action Service, St. Louis (MO); Latin American Action Team, Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery (MO); Mission Effectiveness, School Sisters of Notre Dame, St. Louis; Missouri Nursery & Landscape Association; Montana Nursery & Landscape Association; Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest; Nebraska Nursery & Landscape Association; Culinary Workers Union, Local 226-Nevada; Nevada Landscape Association; Comite de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agricolos (NJ);
Irrigation Association of New Jersey; Mexican American Association of Southern New Jersey; Migration and Refugee Services Diocese of Trenton; New Jersey Farm Bureau Federation; New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, Inc.; New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association; Rural Housing Incorporated (NM); Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law; Cabrini Immigrant Services (NY); Cayuga Marketing, LLC (NY); Centro Hispano Cuzcatlan (NY); Centro Independiente de Trabajadors Agricolos (CITA)-(NY); Centro Salvadoreno, Inc. (NY); Christian Brothers (NY);
New York State Apple Growers Association; New York State Cherry Growers Association; New York State Nursery & Landscape Association; New York State Vegetable Growers Association; PRO-FAC Cooperative (NY); Public Policy Committee, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, NY; Rural and Migrant Ministry (NY); Torrey Farms (NY); Willet Dairy (NY); Workplace Project (NY); YKASEC-Empowering the Korean American Community (NY); El Pueblo, Inc. (NC); Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry (NC); High County Amigos Inc. (NC); Immaculate Concepcion Church (NC); Latino Community Credit Union (NC); Nash Produce Company, Inc. (NC); North Carolina Association of Nurserymen; North Carolina Farm Bureau; North Carolina Justice and Community Development Center;
North Carolina Landscape Association; Student Action With Farmworkers (NC); Triangle Friends of the United Farmworkers (NC); Vitalink (NC); Zelenka Nursery, LLC, (NC); Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (OH); En Camino, Migrant and Immigrant Outreach, Diocese of Toledo; High Stakes Farms (OH); Immigrant Worker Project (OH); Northern Ohio Growers Association; Office of Hispanic Ministry, Catholic Diocese of Cleveland; Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Inc.; Ohio Fruit Growers Society; Ohio Landscapers Association; Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association; Ohio Vegetable & Potato Growers Association; United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries (OH); Vlasic Pickle Growers (OH); Asian American Community Service Association, Inc.; Oklahoma Nursery & Landscape Association;
Venezuelan American Association of Oklahoma; CASA of Oregon; Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (OR); Hood River Grower-Shipper Association (OR); Northwest Workers' Justice Project (OR); Oregon Association of Nurseries; Oregon Farm Bureau; Oregon Farm Worker Ministry; Oregon Law Center; Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon; El Vista Orchards (Wexford, PA); Five Forks Fruit (Waynesboro, PA); Friends of Farmworkers (PA); Hollabaugh Brothers, Inc. (Biglerville, PA); Pennsylvania Farm Bureau; Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition; Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association; Peter Orchards (Gardners, PA); Sisters of the Humility of Mary-Villa Maria, Pennsylvania-(Sister Ruth Mary Powers); State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania;
Feinstein Center for Citizenship & Immigration Services (RI); Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Assn, Inc.; South Carolina Greenhouse Growers Association; South Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association; South Carolina Upstate Tree Growers Association; Catholic Hispanic Ministry, Diocese of Knoxville (TN); Mid-South Interfaith Network for Economic Justice (TN); Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition; Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association; Centro de Salud Familiar le Fe (TX); Ellison's (TX); El Paso Central Labor Union; Equal Justice Center (TX); Houston Community Services; Jovenes Immigrantes por un Futuro Mejor (TX); Midland Community Development Corp. (TX); Migrant Clinicians Network, Inc. (TX); Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc. (TX); Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council; Texas Nursery & Landscape Association;
Texas Poultry Federation; Texas Egg Council; Texas Broiler Council; Texas Poultry Improvement Association;
Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association; El Centro de la Raza (WA); Grupo Mexico of Washington State; Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington State; Marsing Agricultural Labor Sponsor Committee (WA); Underwood Fruit and Warehouse Company (WA); Washington Association of Churches (WA); Washington Growers Clearing House Association; Washington Growers League; Washington Potato & Onion Association; Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs; Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association; Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network; Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin; Gardens Beautiful Garden Centers (WI); Grounds Management Association of Wisconsin; Northern Christmas Tree Growers & Nursery (WI); Office of International Student Services, University of Wisconsin-Platteville; South Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (WI); UMOS (WI);
Wisconsin Council of Churches; Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association; Wisconsin Landscape Federation; Wisconsin Nursery Association; Wisconsin Sod Producers; Ivan Kohar Parra, Executive Director, Latino Community Development Center.