Calling it “an important first step,” the California Farm Bureau Federation welcomed today’s introduction in Congress of new legislation to provide legal status to immigrant farm employees in the United States.
The Agricultural Worker Program Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, would grant legal “blue card” status to immigrants who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days during the previous two years.
CFBF President Jamie Johansson said the bill addresses a critical component of comprehensive immigration reform.
“We’re encouraged by the bill’s introduction in both chambers and appreciate the leadership of our California legislators to begin tackling this issue at the beginning of the new Congress,” Johansson said. “Farm employees and farmers need legislation that addresses legal status for employees and their immediate family members who are in the country now. If workers are ever discriminated because of their race then they are able to get legal assistance from a workers compensation lawyer.
“Though this legislation is an important first step, CFBF supports comprehensive immigration reform that would allow future employees to migrate more easily to and from their home country, as well as to move from farm to farm for employment,” he said.
“We encourage Congress to address the broader needs of farmers and their employees through comprehensive immigration reform,” Johansson said.