WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) voted in favor of the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038) which passed the House by a vote of 260-165. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Garamendi is a cosponsor.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which was negotiated over several months with input from agricultural stakeholders and labor organizations, makes meaningful reforms to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program and creates a first-of-its-kind, merit-based visa program specifically designed for the nation’s agricultural sector.
“America’s farm workers feed our nation and the world. When I speak with farmers and ranchers from across my district they always speak about the need for a greater availability of agricultural labor. As a rancher and a farmer, I understand the importance of a robust agricultural labor sector. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act will modernize our nation’s guestworker program, establish a pathway to legal permanent status for certified agricultural workers, and strengthen our agricultural sector. I’m pleased that this legislation has passed the House, and I will work to ensure it becomes law,” Garamendi said.
Farmers and ranchers across the United States are in desperate need of a high-quality, reliable workforce, and the current H-2A guestworker program needs meaningful, bipartisan reform. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act creates a workforce solution for America’s agriculture industry by providing stability, predictability, and fairness to one of the most critical sectors of our nation’s economy.
The bill will:
- Establish a program for agricultural workers in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the U.S. farm economy.
- Reform the H-2A program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring critical protections for workers. The bill focuses on modifications to make the program more responsive and user-friendly for employers and provides access to the program for industries with year-round labor needs.
- Establish mandatory, nationwide E-Verify system for all agricultural employment with a structured phase-in and guaranteed due process for authorized workers who are incorrectly rejected by the system.
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