Presses For Senate Action on Ag Immigration Bill
March 19th – Napa, CA–Now that a significant agricultural immigration bill has won passage from the U.S. House of Representatives, the Farm Bureau has called on the Senate to begin the process of moving the bill to President Biden’s desk.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., passed the House yesterday with bipartisan support. It would update agricultural visa programs and accommodate immigrant agricultural employees already in the country.
“This bill establishes a program for agricultural workers in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the U.S. agricultural economy. In Napa County, this will have meaningful positive impacts for our local agricultural economy,” said Johnnie White, President of the Napa County Farm Bureau.
“Reform to our immigration and guest worker program is long overdue. The last time Congress passed meaningful immigration reform for agriculture was over 30 years ago. Agricultural employers and their employees need a system that provides long-term stability,” said Ryan Klobas, CEO of the Napa County Farm Bureau.
The bill will now move to the US Senate where Farm Bureau will work with California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla to seek refinements to the bill’s guest worker provisions before a Senate vote.
Senate action would further recognize the essential work farm employees have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re very pleased to see the Farm Workforce Modernization Act advance,” said Ryan Klobas, Chief Executive Officer of the Napa County Farm Bureau. “We thank Reps. Lofgren and Newhouse for championing the bill, and the many members of the California delegation who voted for it, including Congressman Thompson for supporting this meaningful legislative reform for our ag economy.”
“Through its provisions, the bill would assure existing employees who do gain legal status will continue to work in agriculture. In fact, it provides them better opportunity to move into more-responsible and supervisory positions on farms and ranches, by allowing them to earn the backstop of legal residency,” said Johnnie White, Napa County Farm Bureau President.