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House Passes Farm Workforce Modernization Act

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The House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act by a vote of 260 to 165. The bill would ease immigration for agricultural workers. It won the support of over 300 farm groups, as well as the United Farm Workers.

The Hagstrom Report points out that the California Farm Bureau supported the bill but the American Farm Bureau Federation did not. AFB fears the bill will lead to higher wages for farmworkers and increase the legal vulnerability of farm employers.

AFB President Zippy Duvall says several amendments that would have addressed Farm Bureau concerns were blocked from consideration, so they “do not support the final bill passed by the House.”

Heritage Action for America says it grants amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without doing anything to “reform our broken immigration system.”

Zoe Lofgren of California, the lead sponsor of the bill, says, “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for our farmworkers.”

Republicans weren’t happy about the bill’s formula for calculating farm wages and complained that the year-round visa pilot program doesn’t include the meat and poultry sectors.

They also objected to providing “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants working on U.S. farms. The bill’s prospects in the Senate and with President Trump are described as problematic.