Agricultural leaders say they are disappointed with the Senate's failure to agree on a way to reach a final vote on S.1348, the comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
"We're tired of the politics; we're tired of the excuses; and we're not going away until Congress reforms the broken immigration system," says industry leader Maureen Torrey, who farms vegetables and raises dairy cows in western New York.
The Senate effort stalled after a procedural vote that would have limited debate and set the stage for a final vote failed 45-50.
Yet industry leaders remain hopeful.
"We saw amazing leadership and statesmanship from so many," says Craig Regelbrugge, co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform. "There is huge pressure to move a solution forward."
The Senate bill contains landmark provisions that would stabilize a worsening labor crisis facing farms across America. Those provisions would streamline and reform the existing agricultural worker program, known as H-2A, creating a workable legal system, and provide an opportunity for the most experienced farm workers to earn legal status subject to strict conditions.
Farm workers who pay fines, commit to several years of future work in the agricultural sector, and obey the law would ultimately have a chance to earn legal residency, but would not break in line in front of those who have applied legally.
Republican and Democratic leadership in the Senate kept the door wide open to returning to the issue, and growers and producers hold out hope that Congressional leaders will see the wisdom of finishing the job.
"The status quo is bad for the America. It hurts the economy, it undermines our food security," says Luawanna Hallstrom, a southern California tomato grower and leader of the national effort to secure immigration reform for agriculture. "The American people want and deserve a solution, not more of the same."