American Agri-Women (AAW) pleads with the Senate to support the Emergency Agriculture Relief Act (EARA).
Agriculture relies heavily on a labor force of dubious legal status, and with few to no alternatives, this constitutes a national crisis by any measure. The shortage or absence of laborers caused by increasing enforcement-related activities results in planting fewer acres of labor-intensive crops or moving operations out of the United States, instability in the labor supply, and, in some cases, crops rotting in the field.
Congress can help mitigate this crisis by passing the The Emergency Agriculture Relief Act. The EARA, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), would provide temporary limited immigration status to experienced farm workers who continue to work in American agriculture for the next five years.
This emergency agricultural program would be capped at 1.35 million workers. Eligibility would be limited to those who can prove agricultural employment for at least 150 days or 863 hours or who have earned at least $7,000 working in U.S. agriculture during the past 48 months. Emergency workers would have to work at least 100 days per year in agriculture for the next five years.
The bill requires payment of a fine, a background check, provides no green card, no path to permanent legal residence status, and no path to citizenship. This bill helps keep farm labor supply concerns from contributing to higher food prices or our food supply be grown offshore.
Senator Feinstein’s staff has asked that farm organization members call their Senators and ask them to support the EARA. Congress is expected to remain in session in September prior to adjournment for election campaigning, so now is the time for action. We have the safest and one of the most economical food supplies in the world. Let’s work to keep it that way.
For more information, contact Marcie Williams, President, [email protected], or visit the web site at www.americanagriwomen.org. American Agri-Women is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women, with 50 state, commodity, agribusiness affiliate organizations and collegiate chapters throughout the country. AAW is a volunteer organization, working to provide true information about agriculture to the public since 1974.