"While this might be a step in the right direction, it could set back efforts by the agricultural industry to get a new guest worker program or other needed immigration reform legislation passed in Congress," said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. West Mathison, president of Stemilt Growers, a fruit producing company based in Washington state that relies on immigrant labor for a portion of its workforce, told Agri-Pulse that, "We're trying to understand how this is going to work and how we're going to work with our people who might be in this category. It's going to create hope in the lives of many young people who under no fault of their own have come to know the U.S. as their own, yet that don't have legitimate documentation."
However, Western Growers chief lobbyist, Ken Barbic, said the measure "is as at best short-term relief to something that Congress needs to act on, whether we are talking about the DREAM Act specificially, or larger immigration issues." Barbic noted that the industry has been waiting a long time for some kind of congressional solution.
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