More than 140 groups signed onto a letter by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition opposing a bill spurred by the House Judiciary Committee to require all employers to use E-Verify for workers.
The Judiciary Committee moved the bill, HR 1147, out of committee earlier this month. Ag groups wrote House leaders asking them not to bring the bill to the floor.
The agriculture and food groups on the letter effectively acknowledged the problem the ag industry faces with an unknown percentage of workers who are likely in the country illegally. The groups said no other industry relies as much on foreign labor than agriculture.
"Mandatory E-Verify would have a devastating impact on our industry in the absence of a legislative solution for agriculture's labor needs," the letter stated. "If the House decides to move forward on mandatory E-Verify without also moving a solution for agriculture, such action would cause irreparable harm to farmers across America."
The groups said farmers would lose out, as would their workers. Ag production could decline, unless Congress finds some way to pass legislation that would help farmers with labor challenges.
The Ag Workforce Coalition has advocated overhauling the H2A guest-worker program.
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