House and Senate leaders this week proposed separate immigration bills to the White House in hopes of agreeing to a deal offering protection for DACA recipients while increasing border security before government funding officially runs out January 19.A House GOP working group, including members of the GOP leadership team, proposed legislation Wednesday that would eliminate the visa lottery program and chain migration, reduce legal immigration levels by roughly 25 percent a year, make E-Verify mandatory, grant amnesty to DACA recipients by issuing a three-year renewable visa with a work permit and other provisions intended to increase border security.

Notably for agriculture, the proposed legislation also included an H2-C agricultural guestworker program modeled after House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) bill introduced in October 2017, known as the Agricultural Guestworker Act.

The National Chicken Council co-signed a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterating its support of Chairman Goodlatte’s guestworker bill and asking for its inclusion in any legislative agreement addressing immigration.

“Workforce needs are a consistent and pressing priority for the industry,” the NCC letter said, “as many jobs remain unfilled. … Our members need access to a pool of legal, reliable workers, and we support the establishment of a visa program that would contribute to addressing the needs of the animal agriculture industry.”

The letter was co-signed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Turkey Federation and the North American Meat Institute.

House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Raul Labrador (R-ID), House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and House Border Subcommittee Chairwoman Martha McSally (R-AZ) were each co-sponsors on the bill and part of the working group.

A bipartisan meeting with members from both chambers was held at the White House Tuesday morning prior to the release of both frameworks with an agreement made to limit future talks to four issues: DACA amnesty, border security, chain migration and the visa lottery. A Senate version adhering to those guidelines is in the works but details have not been released.

The pressure to produce a streamlined immigration deal before January 19 is due in large part to obtaining the funding needed to begin building a border wall requested by President Trump.

The House and Senate frameworks will have to be reconciled with what is likely to be another continuing resolution meant to fund the government for a short term while a larger, omnibus spending bill gets hammered out between the two chambers.