The Pressure Is On

Jul 15, 2022

The Senate and Instant Pots have something in common: pressure. (#NotAnAd)

Help me tie this together: Last year, the House passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act to reform the H-2A visa program to help with the lack of adequate farm labor and, well… the Senate is not quite there yet.

They’re getting pressure to hurry it up because the rate of inflation and costs at the grocery store are concerning.

What they’re leaning on: Representatives and agriculture groups held an event outside the U.S. Capitol this week to talk about a study that says inflation decreases as the number of H-2A visas increase.

Texas A&M International University researchers found several key findings in their study. More migrant and more H-2A workers are associated with:

  • Lower inflation
  • Higher average wages and minimum wages
  • Lower unemployment

On top of that:

  • More denied petitions for naturalization are associated with larger consumer prices and higher inflation
  • More petitions for naturalization are associated with lower inflation

While the data was collected on a short timeframe, it relied on macro-level economic indicators like average wages, GDP, and grocery store prices for meats, eggs, dairy, and produce.

Keep it going: Farmers and farm groups, especially dairies, are encouraging the Senate to move forward with immigration reform since many of them struggle to find domestic workers.

“This labor shortage is urgent, and we need solutions now,” says James O’Neill, director of outreach for American Business Immigration Coalition Action.