WASHINGTON -- The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) has issued an action alert, urging members to contact their U.S. Senators and show their support for the proposed immigration reform legislation.
On May 9, the Senate Judiciary Committee began considering S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
In what may be a once-in-a-generation opportunity, Congress is taking up legislation to modernize America's immigration system. The Senate is so far leading the effort, and began formal consideration of the bill on May 9. S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, would dramatically overhaul America's legal immigration system, address border security and employment eligibility verification, and provide a tough but fair process for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants to earn legal status over 10 or more years.
ANLA strongly supports several sections of the bill. Most notable are:
- The agricultural reform package, which will benefit nursery and greenhouse growers and workers. Reforms include an agriculture-specific earned legalization program, and a new, market based and flexible future ag worker visa program that will eventually replace the widely criticized H-2A program;
- Improvements to the H-2B program, which is critical to many landscape and distribution companies. Key reforms include a multi-year extension of the "returning worker exemption" (an expired "good idea" provision that allows more H-2B seasonal visa workers based on need); and, a fair resolution for establishing H-2B program wages;
- A new "W visa" program that will allow employers to hire foreign workers on three-year visas for non-agricultural jobs. While the initial W visa cap is low, the allowed number of visas will ultimately rise or fall based on the strength of the economy.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering S.744. But anti-immigrant groups are already orchestrating a noisy campaign to distort the legislation, and once again scare Congress and the American people into inaction with false claims that the bill will jeopardize national security and cost too much to implement.
In reality, the legislation will improve security by identifying and registering who is in the country and better monitoring who comes and goes. It will strengthen the economy by creating a 21st Century immigration system to allow the U.S. to sustain its vitality and compete in a global economy.
ANLA has a pre-written message that you can e-mail to your senators with a few easy clicks. To view the action alert and take action, click here.