A new Senate bill calls for an earned legalization program for undocumented farmworkers. The majority of California farmworkers are undocumented and the state produces much of the nation’s food supply, making the proposed legislation critically important.
“We salute California Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris for introducing the Agricultural Worker Program act of 2017. In this era of immigration fear and tight labor markets, it’s a great thing for farmworkers, growers and all of us who enjoy having food on our tables,” says Chris Paige, CEO of California Human Development.
The bill offers comprehensive immigration reform while addressing the unique and urgent needs of agricultural communities. Americans depend on the farm labor force for the production of abundant, safe, healthy and affordable food. The legislation would allow certain farmworkers who meet work requirements, national security clearance and other obligations to earn temporary permission to work in agriculture for three to five years and the opportunity to earn immigration status with a path to citizenship.
“There’s a real sense of insecurity right now among farmworkers and agricultural producers,” says Paige. “It’s critically important to insure a safe, secure, stable workforce for our nation’s food supply. It’s equally important to be fair and just in our treatment of millions of human beings who play an essential role in our communities. This legislation offers both.”
In addition to providing a meaningful, long-term solution for agricultural employers through the earned legalization program, the bill would provide protections for farmworkers, enabling them to live and work without fear and to seek improvements to their working and living conditions.