Costa, Bipartisan Delegation Introduce 'Farm Workforce Modernization Act'

Oct 30, 2019
Press Release

(Washington) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) joined a bipartisan delegation, including Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Doug Lamalfa (CA-01) and Dan Newhouse (WA-04) to introduce the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, groundbreaking legislation that that provides a path to legal residency for nearly 250,000 California farmworkers. If passed, it would be the first immigration legislation to become law since the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986.

“I am pleased to help introduce and co-sponsor this important and historic legislation with my esteemed colleagues,” said Costa. “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, I am all too familiar with the labor shortages our farmers have been struggling with for years and the hardships of employees living without protective status.  Farmworkers are part of communities in the Valley.  I have worked throughout my time in Congress to find a way to provide a path to residency for these hardworking individuals, without whom California agriculture and our local economy could not thrive. This is long overdue.”

It is estimated that nearly 60% of California’s more than 420,000 farmworkers are undocumented. Under the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement guidelines, undocumented farmworkers are priorities for deportation. The Farm Workforce and Modernization Act will help these workers gain legal status provided they meet certain requirements, such as proving they have worked in agriculture in the past and will continue to work in agriculture in the future.

“The men and women who work America’s farms feed the nation. But, farmworkers across the country are living and working with uncertainty and fear, contributing to the destabilization of farms across the nation,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and author of the bill. “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for farmworkers. In addition, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act addresses the nation’s future labor needs by modernizing an outdated system for temporary workers, while ensuring fair wages and workplace conditions.”