(CFBF) — The vote by the House of Representatives to pass agricultural immigration legislation offers hope to farmers and their employees, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation. CFBF President Jamie Johansson said passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 represents a significant milestone.
“This is a huge step toward addressing problems that have harmed farmers, ranchers and their employees for more than a generation,” Johansson said.
He thanked the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and representatives from both parties who voted to advance the legislation to the Senate.
“Immigration issues are complex, but we thank the members of Congress who saw clearly the need to address current and future workforce needs for agricultural employers and employees,” Johansson said. “We look forward now to working with the Senate to finalize this long-needed set of reforms.”
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.
“Though we’re heartened by the House vote, we realize there’s a lot of work still needed to advance this legislation to the president,” Johansson said. “We will put in that work in order to deal fairly with the existing farm workforce and their immediate families, to make the H-2A guestworker program more valuable and flexible, and to ease the chronic employee shortages that have troubled so many farms and ranches around the country.”
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.