Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on a bipartisan agriculture labor bill introduced in the House that would reform the H-2A visa program and provide protected status to farmworkers already living in the United States:
“The agreement reached in the House to reform the H-2A visa program will make it easier for farmers to hire the workers they need and protect farmworkers from deportation. I support this bipartisan bill and look forward to working with my colleagues to pass it in the Senate.
“The agreement includes key provisions from the Agriculture Worker Program Act, which would allow migrant workers to apply for temporary ‘blue card’ status. Similar to our blue card bill, the House bill would give farmworkers the opportunity to legally work in the United States with an option to eventually apply for permanent status.
“Our broken immigration system has created shortages of farm labor across California and the rest of our country. This bipartisan bill will fix that and bring farmworkers out of the shadows. It’s time we give farmers the help they need while protecting the hardworking people who put food on our tables.
“I’ve worked for many years on farmworker legislation – including several iterations of AgJobs as well as negotiating the final language in the 2013 Senate immigration reform bill – and I can say with certainty that it’s long overdue that we get this bill signed into law.”