New legislation provides farmworkers path to legal status

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would help undocumented farmworkers earn legal status.

California Senator and bill sponsor Dianne Feinstein says farms continue to struggle finding employees and increasing fears about being deported have stopped many from coming to work this season.  “The people who feed us should have an opportunity to work here legally and that’s what we do in this bill that we are proposing.”

The Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017 would provide farmworkers who worked in agriculture at least 100 days over last two years a blue card and protect them from deportation. After three years, farmworkers can earn a green card and after five years apply to become a citizen.

A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. House next week by Illinois Congressmen Luis Gutiérrez. He says farm workers keep food production in the United States and they deserve to have legal protections.

Bruce Goldstein, president of the D.C.-based advocacy group Farm Worker Justice, says statements by the Trump administration about immigration enforcement has created a new set of circumstances that has caused a greater need for action. He says a majority of the nation’s 2.5 million farmworkers are undocumented.

AUDIO: Immigrant Farmworkers Press Call

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  • LOL! This is so crazy – typical of California. Does any really believe that once these people manage to get citizenship that they will work for the low wages that farmers and ranchers pay them? Does anyone not realize they will leave for other better paying jobs – this is nothing but smoke and mirrors!

    We have millions out of work and on welfare; Congress needs to do their job and get them out in the workforce! If I can bale hay in my 60’s, I do believe all these young men and women sitting around collecting unemployment and welfare checks can get off their duffs and go to work!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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