The Agriculture Workforce Coalition Wednesday came out in support of the Senate "gang of eight" immigration proposal, released in the early morning hours of April 16.
The group, comprised of representatives from several farm and agriculture organizations, said the proposal was an "important balance of interests" and it was a welcome next step.
"We had different goals from the beginning, and perhaps there were different goals from the Senators who were so instrumental in pulling this together, but we all had a recognition that the status quo was totally unacceptable," Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the Nation Council of Farmer Cooperatives, said during a press call.
Joining in the discussion, Arturo Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers, added that the proposal "took lots of discussion" but his group is "comfortable" with what Senators, employers and employees have arrived at.
The AWC and UFW garnered a deal with Senators Friday, ensuring that both ag groups – who largely represent employers and employees, respectively – were satisfied with the provisions in the Senate's latest proposal.
The compromise was led by Sens. Rubio, Bennet, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Among the key policy priorities of the agriculture industry are a comprehensive work visa program, a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S., and a separate process towards legalization and citizenship for farm workers – all of which the Senate proposal contained.
President Obama, too, welcomed the proposal.
"This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me," the President said in a statement. "But it is largely consistent with the principles that I have repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform."