Stallman said agriculture's goal is to develop a program that treats workers fairly, while being efficient and economical for employers to use. He noted that workers should be able to work for multiple employers under a structure that enforces worker rights and protects them from exploitation.
Though a long-term, permanent workforce was a key AFBF position, short-term labor needs are also unmet, Stallman said.
"In order to provide short-term stability and an orderly, effective transition to a new guestworker program it is imperative that any legislation approved by Congress include provisions permitting current agricultural workers who might not otherwise qualify to obtain work authorization," Stallman said. "Any new program will take time to be implemented fully."
Poultry Coalition focuses on rebuilding effective documentation
NCC's Brown in his testimony highlighted five major themes for immigration reform on which the coalition he represented – an organization comprised of several meat and poultry groups – is focused: border security; an improvement to the E-verify system as an alternative to a national identity card; clarity in anti-discrimination laws; an occupational visa category that the meat and poultry industry can use that could be tied to local or regional employment; and, options to address the 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S.
In terms of strengthening employment verification, Brown noted that the government does not provide employers with a reliable verification method to prevent identity fraud and confirm whether new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States.