The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee (18-12) on Nov. 21.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and would improve the agricultural visa programs and accommodate immigrant agricultural workers already in the U.S. if passed.
“This bipartisan bill will benefit everyone involved in agriculture,” said California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson.
“That’s why more than 300 agricultural groups and companies from across the country signed a letter [recently] urging congressional leaders to move the bill through the House,” Johansson said.
However, critics say the bill would “open the door to a massive amnesty” of undocumented workers and their families.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “While welcome, these changes unfortunately fall short of assuring that American producers will be able to keep their farms going, and the committee…failed to adopt any amendments that would have improved the legislation for agricultural producers.”