The National Turkey Federation and its members appreciate the leadership of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) with the introduction of S. 2827, “Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act of 2016”.
This legislation is an encouraging addition to the conversation about foreign-born workers in the semi-skilled sector of the economy. It creates a common-sense pilot program that allows the U.S. government to ensure that workers and employers are utilizing the system as it was intended, that visa holders are complying with its rules, and that the program is operating in a way that helps U.S. workers and the economy.
There are very few permanent visas for less-skilled workers. Existing temporary programs only apply to seasonal labor, effectively excluding workers at year-round meat and poultry plants. This legislation is a step forward, helping the turkey industry gain access to legal workers within the pool of general labor (semi-skilled) through a visa program that could address the needs of the meat and poultry industry, if implemented correctly.
National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger said, “There is currently no one bill that is a ‘silver bullet;’ however, Senator Flake’s bill will go a long way to fixing our broken immigration system. Ensuring the legal hiring of enough qualified workers is critical to the turkey industry and the long-term success of the U.S. economy.”