Latino Conservative Group Calls for Passage of AGS Guest Worker Bill

Sep 12, 2011, 11:37 ET from Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles

Urges Democrats Not to Oppose this Pro-Migrant Measure

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, a leading voice of Latino conservatives, today called on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass H.R. 2847, the "American Specialty Agriculture Act," which would create a workable guest worker program that would help American farmers meet their need for foreign workers.  H.R. 2847 was introduced late last week by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

"There is a serious labor shortage in agriculture.  It is almost impossible for farmers to find local workers who want to work in farms, on jobs that are labor intensive and physically draining.   U.S. growers are, therefore, in urgent need of an effective mechanism to legally bring the foreign workers they require each year to meet their production goals," said Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.

"The current agriculture visa program –the H-2A visa program- simply doesn't work.  It's excessively burdensome and costly to employers.  That's why the vast majority of them don't use it.  Most of the approximately 1.1 million agriculture workers that are hired in the United States each year are foreign, yet only 10 percent of them are H-2A visa holders.

"The new program would make it easier and more affordable for employers to recruit and hire the foreign labor they need by doing away with many of the onerous requirements of the current agriculture visa program and by entrusting its management to the Department of Agriculture, rather than the Department of Labor, which has historically worked against the best interests of agri-business," stated Aguilar.

"This bill is also good news for Latin American migrants who want to come legally to the United States to work.  One of the reasons why we have so many undocumented immigrants in the country is that we don't have the proper mechanisms to facilitate the legal flow of the foreign workers our economy needs.  This program offers thousands of Latin American workers the opportunity to enter the country in a legal and dignified way."

"This bill does not intend to solve all the problems of our immigration system, but it is one first step towards a more rational immigration policy.  We call on both Republicans and Democrats to support it.  While I know there are many Democrats with strong ties to Big Labor who have consistently opposed temporary worker programs, I urge them to put principle before party and support this measure, which is supportive of both U.S. farmers and Latin American migrants."

The Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles promotes conservative values and ideals within the Latino community and works to integrate Latinos into fuller and more active participation and leadership in the conservative movement. It is an initiative of American Principles in Action, a 501(c)(4) organization.

SOURCE Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles