WASHINGTON – Last week, Congressman Tom Reed along with the Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed a bill that would help provide earned visa status for Certified Agricultural Workers (CAWs) and provide ranchers and farmers a legal, reliable workforce.
Specifically, Reed says the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 expands the H-2A foreign guest-worker program, so farmers can easily hire workers.
“I hear it every time I step on family farms in Upstate New York — ‘when is Washington going to do something about access for farm labor?’ This common sense bipartisan compromise is a no-brainer to this decades old problem, and will deliver relief to the farmers we care about across the nation to give them fair access to workers they need to prosper,” said Reed. “I am proud the Problem Solvers Caucus could get behind this bill as we fight to push it over the finish line and onto the President’s desk.”
Reed explained the bill takes a two-pronged approach to meet year-round labor needs: creating a new, capped program for employers seeking to bring in temporary workers for year-round needs; and builds off current law dedicating an additional 40,000 employment-based green cards per year for agricultural workers.
It also includes mandatory e-verify, new investments in farmworker housing, H-2A wage reform, and streamlined recruiting.
So far, over 200 organizations have come out in support of the legislation.
The caucus urged a floor vote on this legislation soon.
Problem Solvers Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Fred Upton (R-MI) led the effort with Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), all working closely with Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, as well as Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and stakeholders from the agricultural sector and labor.