‘Build back’ bill offers work authorization for undocumented immigrants

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented farmworkers could gain employment and travel authorization under provisions in the social welfare and climate change bill drafted by House Democrats. But while the proposal would relieve fears of deportation, it was far less than the pathway to citizenship that is the goal of some activists.

Stronger protections needed for farmworkers as pandemic stretches into second year, argue researchers

Farmworkers face serious occupational risks that the pandemic has only exacerbated, and better policies are needed to protect them from exposure to heat, chemicals, and Covid-19, say two new related reports on social and health conditions in the sector.

To tax wealth, Biden would narrow ‘stepped-up basis’ loophole

President Biden proposed stricter application of capital gains taxes, potentially generating billions of dollars in federal revenue, on Wednesday by restricting use of the decades-old "stepped-up basis" that reduces liability on inherited property. Although the White House said it would not increase taxes on heirs who want to keep the family farm running, the largest U.S. farm group was skeptical that the protection could be fashioned into law.

Gonzales is named immigration adviser at USDA

President Biden appointed Oscar Gonzales, an advocate for social justice, as immigration reform adviser at USDA on Monday. Gonzales, who worked at USDA during the Obama years, also will serve as deputy chief of staff for operations and as assistant secretary for administration. “Oscar has …

House vote opens path to legal status for immigrant farmworkers

In a 247-174 vote, the Democrat-led House passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act on Thursday, which would provide a path to legal status for almost one million immigrant farmworkers and reform the existing H-2A visa program for agricultural workers.

Covid-19 looms over refugee camp on the U.S.-Mexico border

Since 2019, a crisis has been unfolding across the U.S.-Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas. About 2,000 refugees, largely from Central America, have been stranded in a riverside encampment, wholly dependent on humanitarian groups for food and other basic needs. Feeding them before Covid-19 was a daunting task for the aid groups, but the pandemic has made food delivery considerably more complicated, says FERN’s latest story. (No paywall)

Farmworkers will be exempt from immigration restrictions

After vowing to ban immigration in a late-night tweet, President Trump said Tuesday the administration would temporarily halt the issuance of new green cards and would not stand in the way of guest workers entering the United States. “The farmers will not be affected. That is a very …

U.S. embassy and consulates in Mexico to shut down, threatening labor supply for American farms

American farmers are bracing for major delays in the arrival of workers through the H-2A visa program after U.S. officials announced late Monday that the embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will close, effective March 18, due to health and safety concerns caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Officials at the embassy did not say when the facilities might reopen. The H-2A program brings some 200,000 foreign workers to U.S. farms each year.(No paywall)

‘Public charge’ rule chills nutrition program enrollment among immigrants

Across the country, fear and confusion about the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule has prompted immigrants and their families to drop out or stay out of pubic nutrition programs, even when they are eligible, according to immigrant and anti-hunger groups. Enrollment in the Special …