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WASHINGTON -- Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Produce Association's president and chief executive officer, released the following statement Dec. 15 on the introduction of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for Americas Security & Prosperity Act of 2009 by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL):

"The United Fresh Produce Association applauds the efforts of Rep. Luis Gutierrez and his colleagues in the House in introducing the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for Americas Security & Prosperity Act of 2009. We are particularly gratified to see inclusion of the AgJOBS legislation, which is broadly supported as a balanced, comprehensive solution for our nations agricultural labor crisis.

Agricultural employers have been adversely affected by targeted immigration enforcement by state and federal authorities. Additionally, the federal government has repeatedly modified regulations for temporary worker programs, causing significant confusion and economic harm to farmers and other employers across the U.S.

Many of these issues would be eliminated if AgJOBS were passed, providing a clear set of rules for agricultural employers to follow. [AgJOBS can help ensure access to a stable and sufficient workforce for American agriculture, while providing the necessary security that our country demands, the statement added.]

We appreciate that Congressman Gutierrez included a fair and thorough solution for agriculture within the larger [bill] and look forward to working with Congress in passing this critical AgJOBS legislation."