Legislation and Analysis
Immigration is a critically important issue for farmworkers. Learn about current legislation proposals impacting farmworkers.
Legislative Proposals 115th Congress
► New Fact Sheet on “State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017,” S. 1040. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), with co-sponsor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), introduced the “State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017,” S. 1040. The bill would allow individual states to create and sponsor temporary work visas in any occupation for foreign citizens. Read our fact sheet.
► New Fact Sheet on the "Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), with 4 co-sponsors, introduced the “Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017.” The bill would establish an earned legalization program for undocumented farmworkers who have been consistently employed in U.S. agriculture and meet other requirements Read our fact sheet.
► New Fact Sheet on the DAIRY Act: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), introduced the “Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round Act of 2017” (DAIRY Act), H.R. 2087. This House bill would significantly expand the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program by including year-round dairy farm jobs. The bill would allow employers to obtain H-2A workers on 18-month temporary work visas which employers could renew endlessly. Read our fact sheet.
► New Fact Sheet on the BARN Act: U.S. Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) has re-introduced the "Better Agricultural Resources Now Act", or BARN Act. This bill would amend the H-2A program to remove important government oversight and to slash labor protections that are need to protect U.S. workers and guestworkers. The proposed changes would deprive U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of job opportunities, lower farmworkers’ already poor wages, and enable exploitative conditions for hundreds of thousands of new guestworkers. The bill lacks the solution that is needed: an opportunity for our experienced farmworkers who lack authorized immigration status to earn a green card and citizenship and reforms to address worker abuses under the H-2A program. Read our fact sheet.
► New Fact Sheet on HR281: Representative Stefanik (R-NY) has re- introduced the so-called “Family Farm Relief Act of 2017,” HR 281, along with co-sponsor Rep. Collins (R-NY). The bill proposes to revise the H- 2A agricultural guestworker program in ways that would deprive U.S. citizens and permanent resident immigrants of job opportunities and allow exploitation of vulnerable foreign citizens who are hired on temporary work visas. Read our fact sheet.
2017 Immigration Resources
- Checklist for Preparing for Immigration Enforcement English| Español
- Frequently Asked Questions about Immigration Raids English| Español
- Know Your Rights Toolkit
Policy Updates and Strategies for the Field (2/15/17) . This webinar addresses immigration policy developments and immigration enforcement measures. The panel discusses immigrants' rights, with a focus on farmworkers and rural communities. The panel discusses immigrants' rights, with a focus on farmworkers and rural communities. The panel features speakers from Farmworker Justice, the United Farm Workers Foundation, and SPLC. Listen here.
Previous Proposals (2013)
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S.744: On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, by a bipartisan vote of 68-32. The bill’s passage brings us one step closer to fixing our broken immigration policy and modernizing agricultural labor relations. Farmworker Justice’s statement on the bill’s passage is available here.
S.744 is a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill authored by eight Senators (Senators McCain (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), Flake (R-AZ), Rubio (R-FL), Schumer (D-NY), Durbin (D-IL), Menendez (D-NJ) and Bennet (D-CO)–coined the “Gang of 8”). The bill contains the agricultural stakeholder agreement that is the result of intense negotiations between agribusiness representatives and the United Farm Workers, led by Senators Feinstein (D-Cal.), Bennet (D-Col.), Rubio (R-Fla.), and Hatch (R-Ut.). S. 744 also includes Subtitle F, Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and Abuses Involving Workers Recruited Abroad, which provides important protections to address abuse in the international recruitment of workers across visa programs. The widespread discrimination, fraud, and recruitment fees during the recruitment process drastically impact the experience of workers during recruitment and once they are in the US.
► For more information on the other provisions of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, read the National Immigration Law Center’s summary.
► Read Farmworker Justice's summary of the agriculture immigration stakeholder agreement in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013
► United Farm Workers’ letter of support for farmworker provisions
International Labor Recruitment Provisions
► Legislative text: Title III, Subtitle F, Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and Abuses Involving Workers Recruited Abroad
► UFW/Farmworker Justice fact sheet: The Vital Importance of Oversight of the International Labor Recruitment System
► International Labor Recruitment Working Group fact sheet: Senate Bill Improvements to International Labor Recruitment
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744
► Testimony of Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers
Senate Judiciary Committee Mark-up of S. 744
►Senate Judiciary Committee website and amendments considered
House of Representatives
8/1/2013: The House is expected to move forward on immigration reform in the fall. Talking points on immigration reform for farmworkers that can be used in meetings with Congressional staff are available here.
The Agricultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773, Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA)
On June 19th, the House Judiciary Committee passed Chairman Bob Goodlatte's Agricultural Guestworker Act, HR 1773, by a vote of 20-16 along party lines. Rep. Goodlatte’s “Ag Act” is a one-sided and harsh bill that stands in stark contrast to the balanced stakeholder agreement. The bill would create a massive new agricultural guestworker program, which would deprive U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of job opportunities, lower farmworkers’ already poor wages, and allow exploitative conditions for hundreds of thousands of new guestworkers. Significantly, Goodlatte’s bill fails to address our broken immigration system and does not offer an opportunity for the current experienced farmworkers who lack authorized immigration status to earn a roadmap to citizenship.
► Farmworker Justice’s Fact Sheet
► Farmworker Justice's Talking Points on H.R. 1733
► Farmworker Justice’s Press Statement
► Legislative Language H.R. 1773
► House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Agricultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773
► House Judiciary Committee mark-up of the Agr icultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773
► Farmworker Justice's Additional Talking Points on the Treatment of Undocumented Workers in H.R. 1773
► Farmworker Justice and the United Farm Workers sent to the House of Representives this sign-on letter in which over 200 organizations oppose Rep. Goodlatte’s Agricultural Guestworker Act, HR 1773.
Rep. Ross ( R-FL), Legal Agricultural Workforce Act, H.R. 242
On January 14, 2013, Rep. Ross introduced the Legal Agricultural Workforce Act, HR 242, which would devastate America’s farmworkers and endanger our nation’s food system. Rep. Ross proposes a massive new guestworker program with no meaningful labor protections. Rep. Ross ignores the lessons of history by eliminating virtually all of the labor protections that have been recognized for decades as necessary to prevent displacement of U.S. workers, depression of U.S. workers’ wage rates, and exploitation of foreign citizens.
Priorities for Immigration Reform: On January 29th, 2013, President Obama gave a speech in Las Vegas, laying out his priorities for immigration reform.
► Farmworker Justice's Statement
► White House Fact Sheet: Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules