IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Western Growers today supported President Bush's renewed push for immigration reform and called for swift action to enact an effective guest worker program in conjunction with strong border enforcement. The President called for action on comprehensive immigration during speeches in Arizona and Texas earlier this week. "It is long past time for this nation to come to grips with reality and fix our immigration policy," said Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers. "We fully support the President's recognition that effective immigration reform consists of much more than talking tough and sealing the border. This nation needs a legal, stable foreign work force and that means an effective guest worker program as a key element of any immigration reform policy." Western Growers has been a major proponent of immigration reform throughout the past year and Nassif has been a prominent advocate of a comprehensive immigration reform package which would include some form of guest worker program. "We were heartened to see the President maintain his call for a guest worker program," said Nassif. "The political pressure to abandon this key element of immigration reform is enormous, but without a guest worker program, immigration reform will fail. Calling a guest worker program amnesty may be politically expedient in the 2006 election cycle, but it is nothing more than pandering and any policy that fails to recognize the reality of 11 million foreign workers in this country would be a travesty." Nassif welcomed promised action by Congress on the issue in early 2006. "The country has been promised action on this critical issue by Majority Leader Frist and others early next year," said Nassif. "We welcome action to secure our borders and make our nation safe. We also welcome action to legalize our work force and finally create an immigration policy that makes sense." Western Growers is an agricultural trade association whose members grow, pack and ship 90 percent of the fresh vegetables and nearly 70 percent of the fresh fruit and nuts grown in Arizona and California, about one-half of the nation's fresh produce. For more information, visit www.wga.com.
SOURCE Western Growers