(CFBF) — Committee approval of an agricultural immigration bill marks an important step for California farmers, their employees and their families, the California Farm Bureau Federation said. CFBF President Jamie Johansson welcomed today’s action by the House Judiciary Committee on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019. The committee approved the bill by voice vote, ahead of an expected final vote tomorrow to send it to the full U.S. House of Representatives.
“We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to get here, and there’s still a long way to go, but we’re encouraged by the prospects for reform and improvement of immigration laws that would benefit agricultural employees and their families,” said Johansson, who attended the committee hearing in Washington, D.C.
Introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 would improve agricultural visa programs and accommodate immigrant agricultural employees already in the United States, while enhancing border security.
“This bipartisan bill will benefit everyone involved in agriculture. That’s why more than 300 agricultural groups and companies from across the country signed a letter this week urging congressional leaders to move the bill through the House,” Johansson said.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would improve the existing H-2A agricultural visa program and would allow immigrant agricultural employees already in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment.
“As Thanksgiving nears, there’s no more meaningful way to recognize the contribution agricultural employees make to our food supply and rural communities than to deal fairly with immigrant employees and their immediate families,” Johansson said. “We urge Speaker Pelosi to bring the Farm Workforce Modernization Act to a vote as soon as possible.”
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 34,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.