The U.S. House has passed the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act (HR 1603) sponsored by Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-Issaquah, WA-08). The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which was negotiated with input from agricultural stakeholders and labor organizations, makes meaningful reforms to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program.
“I am excited to support this bipartisan bill that will address current and future agriculture needs in Washington State and improve job opportunities for farm workers,” said Rep. Schrier. “Labor plays a crucial role in our country’s agriculture economy because as we all know, crops don’t wait and millions of dollars are at stake. The farmers and orchardists I meet with in the 8th district all say that a stable workforce is critical to their ability to put food on our tables.”
The bill will establish a program for agricultural workers in the United States to earn legal status through continued agricultural employment and contribution to the U.S. agricultural economy. Further, it streamlines the H-2A program through various initiatives including a pilot program that will more easily facilitate employment of up to 10,000 H-2A workers with registered agricultural employers. The bill focuses on modifications to make the H-2A program more responsive and user-friendly for employers and provides access to the program for industries with year-round labor needs. Lastly, it will create mandatory, nationwide E-Verify system for all agricultural employment with a structured phase-in and guaranteed due process for authorized workers who are incorrectly rejected by the system.
This legislation passed the House with strong bipartisan support in the 116th Congress. And in the 116th Congress, the bill garnered support from over 300 agriculture organizations.
The above is a press release from Rep. Kim Schrier. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to personally verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable. The publication of this press release does not indicate an endorsement of its content.