On December 11, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (HR 5038), 260-165. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California authored the bill, and it was co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans.
The legislation has three components. The first title creates the Certified Agricultural Worker program. This new program will allow the current workforce who already works in agriculture to gain legal status. The second title significantly reforms the current H-2A program to streamline the process, reduce costs, and provide the ability for agriculture to meet the current and future workforce needs. The last title phases in mandatory participation for agriculture in the E-Verify program after the Certified Agricultural Worker program is established.
The California Citrus Mutual Board of Directors voted to support the HR 5038 and greatly appreciates the hard work of multiple California congressional representatives who pushed to get the first substantial agricultural immigration reform bill passed in the House of Representatives in over 30 years! There is much more work ahead of us as HR 5038 will also need to clear the Senate and will require the President’s signature. CCM will continue to be engaged with our partners to get this vital piece of legislation across the finish line.