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News & Press: Press Release

Statement of AmericanHort on House Immigration Compromise Vote

Thursday, June 28, 2018  
Posted by: Terri Brown

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2018
Mary Beth Cowardin
Vice President Marketing & Member Engagement
MaryBethC@AmericanHort.org
614-884-1137

Statement of AmericanHort on House Immigration Compromise Vote

Washington, DC - AmericanHort is disappointed that the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to advance meaningful immigration reform including labor relief that would benefit the horticulture industry.  Over the past two weeks, two bills have failed to garner the votes needed to pass the House.  The more promising initiative, involving a House leadership-supported compromise bill that principally sought DACA relief and enforcement enhancements, failed in the House on Thursday, June 27. 

Several members of Congress have worked tirelessly to improve, and include in the compromise, provisions intended to address agriculture’s need for a legally authorized workforce and an improved worker visa option. Among those members, AmericanHort especially recognizes and thanks Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) for securing significant improvements to the proposed new agricultural visa program.

In addition, Congressional supporters cognizant of the needs of our industry’s seasonal employers, particularly in the landscape sector, pushed hard to add an H-2B program returning worker exemption provision to the compromise package. 

Ultimately, the amendment carrying these labor relief provisions was not included, as support for the compromise package itself faltered due to political dynamics beyond these specific provisions. The compromise legislation’s failure on the House floor jeopardized an opportunity to advance the legislative process and bring our industry a step closer to reform.

“We continue to believe that there is significant support in Congress for addressing the untenable labor situation facing agricultural and seasonal employers,” said Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort senior vice president for advocacy and research.  “We urge House leadership to allow consideration of legislative proposals specifically intended to resolve this issue.”

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About AmericanHort

Green industry businesses perform better, grow faster and prepare for the future as a member of AmericanHort, the green industry’s leading association. With a rich history of serving horticultural professionals, AmericanHort supports nearly 14,000 member and affiliated businesses that include breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, garden retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry market chain. The horticulture industry's production, wholesale, retail, and landscape service components have annual sales of $196 billion, and sustain over 1.6 million full- and part-time jobs.