On May 3, 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the “Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017,” S.1034. The bill would allow many undocumented farm workers and their family members the opportunity to earn legal immigration status and citizenship. Three weeks later, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), joined by 26 cosponsors, introduced the bill in the House, HB. 2690.
Under the Agricultural Worker Program Act, farm workers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in each of the past two years may earn lawful “blue card” status. Farm workers who maintain blue card status for the next three or five years, depending on the total hours worked in agriculture, would be eligible to adjust to a green card or legal permanent residency.
The National Farm Worker Ministry in its mission to stand with our nation’s farm workers has long supported meaningful and effective immigration reform for the people who harvest our crops. As well as NFWM, the Agricultural Worker Program Act is supported by many labor, immigrant rights and other organizations, including the United Farm Workers, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, PCUN, the Farm Worker Association of Florida the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Farmworker Justice.
This proposed legislation acknowledges that those who are here without official papers to work and contribute to our society should have the opportunity to live without fear and have a path to citizenship which is not burdensome. It also recognizes that providing this will help to alleviate the pending labor shortage which will come if no action is taken by allowing those with years of experience to remain here to continue the work in our fields. The National Farm Worker Ministry urges Congress to take this step to alleviate current fears and provide a beginning solution to push us closer to justice for farm workers.
For more information on the bill, please see Farmworker Justice’s Fact Sheet.
Read the entire bill here.