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Senate Judiciary Committee Reviews Immigration Reform Legislation

May 14, 2013

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week began consideration of S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill containing the crucial agriculture worker provisions backed by NMPF.

The Senate legislation is the product of NMPF’s efforts in recent years to resolve the employment needs of dairy farmers, and agriculture overall. This legislation under consideration includes farm worker provisions crafted by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) – of which NMPF is a member – and the United Farm Workers (UFW). More than 300 amendments have been filed to the Senate legislation. Many of these could have a direct or indirect impact on farmers, and NMPF staff members are carefully weighing positions on each. Despite the sensitive nature of the immigration issue, NMPF is optimistic that this legislation will advance through the Judiciary committee with the vital reforms needed by dairy farmers as part of the package. The committee will likely take a number of days to complete consideration of the bill.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte recently introduced H. R. 1773, the Agricultural Guestworker Act. While the AWC remains committed to the agreement reached with UFW, the coalition remains deeply engaged with Rep. Goodlatte and other House members on this matter. The House Judiciary Committee will have an agriculture-focused hearing this week to begin the process of developing a farm worker immigration plan. While the path ahead remains unclear in the House, NMPF will continue working to ensure that the needs of dairy farmers are addressed.