Action Center
Encourage Your Senators to Pass Critical Agricultural Reform
In March of 2021, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021. However, the U.S. Senate has yet to act on that legislation. As the United States grapples with labor shortages, supply chain challenges, and high inflation, now is the time for Congress to pass the reforms contained in H.R. 1603. Moreover, we know many of the men and women who cultivate our fields, work in food processing plants, and perform other vital roles within our food supply chain currently face mistreatment, exploitation, and dangerous conditions because they lack legal status, even though our very way of life has come to depend on them and, quite literally, we would not be able to live without the fruits of their labors.

H.R. 1603, as passed by the House, would:

  • Establish a program for agricultural workers in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment and contributions to the U.S. agricultural economy;
  • Reform the H-2A guest worker program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring critical protections for workers; and
  • Establish an E-Verify employment eligibility verification system for all agricultural employment. 
     

As Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Mario Dorsonville, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, stated following House passage of H.R. 1603, this bill “would help many hardworking immigrants reach their God-given potential, not only for their benefit but for that of the entire country.” 

In addition to the USCCB, the bill has been endorsed by United Farm Workers, the American Business Immigration Coalition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Episcopal Church, the National Immigration Forum, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, among others. 

Importantly, if the Senate does not act on H.R. 1603 by the time the current Congress ends on January 3, 2023, it will need to be reintroduced and the whole process begun anew in the 118th Congress, starting January 4, 2023. 

Complete this action alert to join others across the country in encouraging your senators to take up and pass bipartisan legislation that grants legal status to farm workers and reforms the agricultural guest worker program before the end of this Congress. 

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