Statement from California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) President John Aguirre:
I am deeply disappointed by the apparent inability of the House of Representatives to resolve some of our nation’s most pressing immigration issues. California winegrape growers and farmworkers face a crisis of uncertainty due to stepped up immigration enforcement and a shrinking pool of agricultural workers. Continued uncertainty surrounding our nation’s immigration laws and worsening shortages of farm labor will result in severe harm to the state’s economy and agricultural industry.
The version of H.R. 4760 that was defeated in the House of Representatives contained an H-2C agricultural guestworker program that reflects numerous concessions and improvements made over the course of several months by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). Goodlatte’s agricultural guestworker proposal is the best policy option available to us today. We believe moving the legislative process forward by passing Goodlatte’s H-2C proposal offers the best opportunity to deliver a meaningful solution to the dire labor shortages that now exist in our state’s vineyards.
The time has come for Congress to overcome years of policy gridlock and deliver a solution.