Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Garamendi Cosponsors Bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act

October 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) joined a bipartisan group of Representatives in cosponsoring the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which was introduced today by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

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,” Garamendi said. “The Farm Workforce Modernization Act will modernize our guestworker program, establish a pathway to citizenship for certified agricultural workers, and strengthen our agricultural sector. I’m proud to stand with a bipartisan group of colleagues in supporting this critically important legislation.”

“The men and women who work America’s farms feed the nation. But, farmworkers across the country are living and working with uncertainty and fear, contributing to the destabilization of farms across the nation,” said Rep. Lofgren. “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for farmworkers. In addition, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act addresses the nation’s future labor needs by modernizing an outdated system for temporary workers, while ensuring fair wages and workplace conditions.”

Background:

Farmers and ranchers across the United States are in desperate need of a high-quality, reliable workforce, and the current H-2A guestworker program is in need of 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. agricultural 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.

Click here for a one-pager.

Click here for bill text.