Mar 19 2021
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the House passed the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bill that would reform the H-2A visa program and prevent farmworkers already working in the United States from being deported:
“Farmers in California and across the country are facing a shortage of farmworkers because of our broken immigration system. I’m proud to support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which passed the House last night, because it would help farmers hire the workers they need and protect farmworkers from deportation.
“The House bill accomplishes the goals of the Blue Card provision I’ve championed for many years that would provide migrant workers and their families the opportunity to apply for temporary ‘Certified Agricultural Worker’ status. Gaining this status would allow a farmworker who has worked in this country, paid taxes and not committed offenses to legally remain in the United States and eventually earn a path to permanent Green Card status.
“The bill also reforms the broken H-2A visa process and will help farmers hire the workers they need. The bill creates a year-round H-2A visa category, which will help industries like dairy that need more long-term workers. It also includes a pilot program for portable visas that will help in states like California where workers need to move from place to place according to the schedule of our multiple crops.
“Now that the bill has passed the House, I will work with my colleagues to pass it in the Senate. I’ve worked on farmworker legislation for years and can tell you this is long overdue. It’s time to give farmers the help they need and protect the essential workers who work hard to put food on our tables.”