Rebuffed by the Senate last year, two U.S. representatives on Wednesday reintroduced their bipartisan bill to create legal status for undocumented farmworkers and to streamline the H-2A visa program for guestworkers.
On a strong 260-165 vote, the House passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to give legal status to undocumented farmworkers and modernize the H-2A guestworker program. Lead sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that although action in the Republican-controlled Senate is not certain, “there is an interest” in assuring a reliable farm workforce.
The House will vote soon on a bipartisan bill to provide legal status to undocumented farmworkers and to modernize the H-2A agricultural guestworker program — the first agricultural labor reform bill in three decades, said sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren.
Dozens of farm groups stood with 44 lawmakers — one-tenth of the U.S. House membership — on Wednesday in support of bipartisan legislation to provide legal status to undocumented farmworkers and to modernize the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. Lead sponsor Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, said “we have hope” of moving the bill quickly as a show of comity in a polarized Congress.
House Republican leaders promised a vote this month on creating a new agricultural guestworker program. But it now appears that vote may be delayed, in part due to inter-party squabbling over more comprehensive immigration reform.
House Republican leaders say they will call votes next week on two immigration bills dealing with so-called Dreamers. The bill favored by conservatives would create, as a sidelight, a new, year-round H-2C visa program for farmworkers.
With immigration legislation stalled in Congress, four members of President Trump’s cabinet said on Thursday that they will modernize the H-2A guestworker program for agricultural labor.
Acceding to demands by conservatives, the House will take up the restrictive Goodlatte-McCaul immigration bill during the third week of June and then follow that with a new vote on the farm bill, said Majority Whip Steve Scalise on Monday.
The White House says it will propose a compromise on immigration built on four pillars: “Securing the border and closing legal loopholes; ending extended-family chain migration; canceling the visa lottery; and providing a permanent solution on DACA.” The announcement by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders left open the question of undocumented farmworkers.