House Passes Farm Workforce Modernization Act

The House of Representatives has passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would ease immigration for agricultural workers.

The bill passed by a vote of 260 to 165. It has the support of over 300 farm groups, as well as the United Farm Workers.

The California Farm Bureau supports the bill, but the American Farm Bureau Federation does not. AFB fears the bill will lead to higher wages for farm workers and increase the legal vulnerability of farm employers. President Zippy Duvall said several amendments that would have addressed Farm Bureau concerns were blocked from consideration, so they “do not support the final bill passed by the House.”

Heritage Action for America says it grants amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without doing anything to “reform our broken immigration system.”

“Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for our farmworkers,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), the lead sponsor of the bill.

Republicans weren’t happy about the bill’s formula for calculating farm wages and complained that the year-round visa pilot program doesn’t include the meat and poultry sectors. They also objected to providing “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants working on U.S. farms. The bill’s prospects in the Senate and with President Trump are described as problematic.