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E-Verify Legislation Approved by House Judiciary Committee

October 4, 2011

Last month, the House Judiciary committee approved the controversial E-Verify bill. Adopted along a party line vote, 22-13, Committee Chairman Lamar Smith’s bill would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, an online worker verification system that matches job applications with data from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Under the bill, agriculture employers would be given 36 months from the date of enactment to comply with its provisions. During the mark up of the bill, Representative Dan Lungren unsuccessfully offered an agriculture-specific amendment that would have issued 10 month visas for agriculture workers. As it stands, Smith still is considering an agriculture-specific workforce act, H.R. 2847, but has yet to move it out of Committee. While the full House of Representatives may soon vote on the E-Verify legislation, the bill is not expected to be considered by the Senate.

NMPF continues to reinforce that it will not support enforcement-only legislation. Without a viable answer for the future workforce of the agriculture industry, NMPF cannot endorse any legislation that will increase the burden of America’s farmers.

Toward that end, in written testimony provided today to the Senate Judiciary Committee, NMPF said that current labor and immigration policies put the U.S. dairy farm sector at a disadvantage, and that a change in laws is necessary in order to address the realities of dairy production in America.

In testimony presented to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, which held a hearing on the agricultural labor crisis, NMPF wrote that there remains a persistent shortage of native-born workers interested in employment on dairy farms, which is why farmers cannot find enough American workers to milk cows and perform other critical job functions on dairies.

The full news release on the Senate hearing is available on the NMPF website.