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Immigration

For years, the produce industry and our agriculture sector partners have made an overwhelming case for legislation to reform our broken immigration system and help build a legal and reliable workforce.    

Our industry must have: 1) legal status for the current workforce; 2) reforms to the current federal agriculture guestworker program known as H-2A; 3) future access to a skilled, dedicated workforce; and 4) NO heightened enforcement legislation that does not contain a solution for agriculture’s problems in attracting and maintaining a workforce.  The produce industry does not oppose proper enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, but to do so without addressing the reality that much of workforce in agriculture is foreign-born would be devastating to our sector. 

We stand ready to work with policymakers to craft policies that keep our nation safe and help our economy thrive.

Take Action On This Issue!Grassroots Action Network

Make your voice heard! Go to United Fresh’s grassroots website for easy, quick steps you can take to tell Congress to act on agriculture’s labor needs now!

Workforce Facts & Numbers

  • Labor costs account for 48 percent of the variable production costs for fresh fruits and 35 percent of variable costs for fresh vegetables
  • We need between 1.5 and 2 million workers during the peak season, the current system does not address replenishment of workers
  • In 2012, labor shortages on farms led to $3.3 billion in missed GDP growth and $1.3 billion in lost farm income.
  • The impacts of an enforcement only approach to immigration would be detrimental to the agricultural industry. If agriculture were to lose access to all falsely workers, agricultural output would fall by $30 to $60 billion.
  • Between 2002 and 2012 300,000 acres of farmland previously used to grow fresh fruit, vegetables, and tree nuts were taken out of production altogether.
  • Currently, the H-2A program provides less than 4 percent of the hired workers needed in agriculture.
  • 72 percent of growers reported that workers arrived on average of 22 days after the “date of need” under H-2A Program
  • 42% of growers will not use H-2A because it is “too administratively burdensome or costly”
  • In 2010, administrative challenges with the H-2A visa program led to $320 million in lost farm revenue