WASHINGTON, D.C. — Apple industry leaders from coast to coast lobbied Congress on March 20 to pass immigration reform.
Leaders came from many apple producing states including Washington and New York and visited more than 70 congressional offices representing California, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The industry depends heavily on migrant labor and guestworker programs to grow, harvest, pack and process apples and apple products, said Jim Bair, president and CEO of U.S. Apple Association. Not enough workers or delays in their arrivals impacts quality and value, Bair said. Securing a legal, stable and reliable workforce is U.S. Apple’s top legislative priority, he said.
The apple delegation, part of U.S. Apple’s annual Capitol Hill Day, was joined by 18 young people from nine states who participated in U.S. Apple’s Young Apple Leader Program. The program is designed to stimulate civic participation by younger growers.
— Dan Wheat