Jan 24, 2019Ag employers group sees ‘blue card’ bill as good first step
Three Democratic lawmakers from California have presented new immigration legislation that would create an opportunity for undocumented agricultural workers to apply for legal status.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Jimmy Panetta, and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren introduced the Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2019 (H.R. 641) on Jan. 17. The bill would allow immigrant farm workers who have worked at least 575 hours or 100 work days over a two-year period to apply for “blue card status.”National Council of Agricultural Employers Statement on Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2019
Michael Marsh, president and CEO of the National Council of Agricultural Employers (NCAE) said the bill “that would provide a pathway to citizenship for certain farmworkers.
“This is a very important piece of the puzzle for fixing the chronic labor shortage U.S. agriculture faces,” Marsh said. “Senator Feinstein and Representative Lofgren, as well as many other members of the House and Senate, have long been champions in the attempts to address the severe labor shortage impacting U.S. production agriculture.”
Marsh continued, “Our members recognize the need for solutions to the agricultural labor challenges facing them on their farms and ranches. This bill is an important first step toward resolving the ability of growers to retain their long-time skilled workers, which is paramount to helping to solve this issue. Farmers also need to secure a future flow of temporary foreign workers into critical agricultural jobs that most Americans choose not to do. We look forward to working with Senator Feinstein, Representative Lofgren, and their colleagues in Congress to achieve a solution that addresses the entire agricultural labor problem.”
NCAE is the national trade association focusing on agricultural labor issues from the employer’s viewpoint.