The House's inaction on immigration reform – and Speaker John Boehner's declaration that the House will not vote on any reform bill this year – has the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives concerned.
"This inaction squanders the best opportunity we have had in a generation to fix a problem of critical importance to agriculture and bolster the economy across rural America," NCFC president Chuck Connor said Monday.
NCFC is "deeply disappointed," Connor added.
During a press briefing Monday, President Barack Obama indicated he would take matters into his own hands, explaining in a letter to Congress that the influx of immigrants across the border is requiring additional manpower to operate the deportation process.
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"Our system is so broken, so unclear, that folks don't know what the rules are. I take executive action only when we have a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing," he said.
In response, he has ordered the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to move resources from the interior to the border. The President also has directed the two to determine what actions the administration can take, within existing legal authorities, to fix the immigration system.
"If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours. I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay," Obama said.
Though the Senate has agreed on an immigration reform plan, the House has not.
"In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don't trust him to enforce the law as written. Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue," Speaker Boehner said in a statement Monday.
"It is sad and disappointing that – faced with this challenge – President Obama won't work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can't and won't fix these problems."
Connor, too, said executive orders won't do much to help agriculture with its immigration and labor issues.
"Any executive action that the President takes on immigration will not adequately solve agriculture's problems in finding a legal, skilled and dependable workforce now or in the future; the President admitted as much in his remarks today," Connor said.
"Executive action will only freeze in place the current dysfunctional state of affairs. Farmers will continue to be unable to find the workers they need to pick crops or care for livestock; more food production will go overseas; local economies across the country will suffer; and the American consumer will ultimately pay more for the food they eat.
"What farmers, ranchers and growers need, and what the American people deserve, is for policy makers in Washington to do their jobs and act to solve the country's broken immigration system," he said.