Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate unveiled bills on Thursday that would give undocumented farmworkers “blue card” status, allowing them to work legally in the United States and gain the chance to become permanent residents, with an eventual path to citizenship. (No paywall)
Farmworkers face the greatest risk of adverse health effects from exposure to pesticides, says a report released today by the nonprofit Organic Center, which studies the environmental and health effects of organic food and farming.
For the second time this summer, House Republican leaders backed creation of a new agricultural guest worker program, this time a three-year H-2C visa available for fish farms, dairy producers and meatpackers as well as crop farmers. Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington state applauded Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy "for their commitment to bring this to the floor" but the bill was not on the agenda for House action before the August recess.
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.
The chairmen of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees unveiled an immigration bill on Tuesday that “addresses the four pillars for immigration reform outlined by President Trump.” Unlike an earlier version, though, it does not create a new, year-round H-2C visa for farmworkers.
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 U.S. House might not vote on an immigration bill this year in large part due to opposition from California farmers, reports McClatchy. Growers say harsh provisions in the bill would gut the state's agricultural work force, so they are working with powerful lawmakers, such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to keep such a package from going to a floor vote.