Farm workforce bill poised to pass with bipartisan support
The Dream and Promise Act of 2021 passed in the House Thursday afternoon, with a vote of 228 to 197, with nine Republicans joining all the Democrats supporting the bill.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 was also poised to pass the House with bipartisan support.
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, endorsed both bills, and said in a statement after the Dream and Promise Act’s passage: “I am glad the Dream and Promise Act has passed the House and with bipartisan support to boot. This bill gives millions of Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders the protection and opportunities they deserve.”
The representative said that as someone who immigrated to the country as a young child, he considers this a personal issue and was proud to vote in favor of the bill.
“When my parents brought me to this country, I was granted the opportunity to get a good education, serve my country in the military, and now serve in Congress,” he said. “DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status holders deserve these same opportunities to achieve their American Dream. They are our neighbors, friends, family members, teachers, medical professionals and more. This is the only country they call home and I’m glad they are here to stay.”
The Dream and Promise Act of 2021 would grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status for 10 years if they meet certain requirements such as being 18 years old or younger when they entered the country. It also would grant individuals who have had temporary protected status or deferred enforced departure for three years or more lawful permanent resident status, and set forth provisions that protect Dreamers and individuals with temporary protected status or deferred enforced departure during their application for relief.
The act is predicted to help more than 3 million Dreamers and others gain legal status and a chance for citizenship.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is expected to help another 1 million immigrant agriculture workers and their families legally stay in the U.S., according to national media reports.
It would provide a path to immigration status for agricultural workers and their families; revise the H-2A agricultural guestworker program to address employer and worker concerns; and impose mandatory employment verification, E-Verify, in agriculture.
“My father was a farmworker and I spent summers working with him in the fields, so I know firsthand how important the labor of those who harvest our food is to my community and to this nation. Agriculture is a major economic driver in my district and I have heard countless times from producers about the devastating labor shortage that stems from our broken immigration system,” said Rep. Carbajal. “We have a lot of work to do to reform our immigration system and this bill is one focused and significant step to accomplish that goal. This groundbreaking, bipartisan bill creates a lasting solution by providing earned legal status for existing farmworkers and it modernizes the guest-worker program to ensure long term industry sustainability that supports farmworkers and growers alike.”
Both bills will head to the Senate where they will need 60 votes to advance.