WASHINGTON, March 17, 2015 – More than 140 food and agriculture groups are warning House leaders that legislation requiring employers to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of workers would have a “devastating impact” on farms.

The bill (H. 1147) is one of a series of immigration measures moving out of the House Judiciary Committee. The committee is expected to consider legislation later to expand the availability of foreign agricultural workers, but the farm groups want the two measures to go hand in hand.

“There is no other industry with greater workforce demographic challenges and foreign labor reliance than agriculture,” the groups wrote in a letter to House leaders.

“A longer phase-in and or an exemption from E-Verify is a well-intentioned acknowledgment that agriculture confronts a precarious labor situation, but it does not move us any closer to the permanent solutions we desperately need. Instead, they place a larger target on the backs of American producers who are following the letter of the law today.”

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The groups include the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Council, National Council of Farm Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, United Egg Producers and a variety of other groups representing fruit, vegetable, dairy and cotton producers.