Lawmakers create bill to fix farmworker shortage, help migrants earn US legal status

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Throughout California’s Central Valley last year, crops were left hanging, unpicked, and rotting.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren says farmers lost out because they simply didn’t have enough workers to harvest.

“We do need a flow of farmworkers into the United States,” Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, (D) California, said. 

She and other California representatives are working to fix the problem.

She authored a bill to let migrant workers earn legal status in the U.S. through their work on American farms.

“They can get right with the law, and go ahead and do their work without fear. Also, farmers don’t have to worry they’re going to lose their workforce,” Lofgren said. 

“I don’t want anybody to blow this up because they say it’s amnesty. It’s far from that,” Congressman Doug LaMalfa, (R) California, said. 

Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa says after eight months of negotiation, the bill, known as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, finally cleared the House Judiciary Committee.

He says bringing his Republican colleagues on board has not been easy.

But this bill, designed with farmers well being in mind, got 26 Democratic votes and 23 Republican. 

“We still need the border wall. I support that a hundred percent,” LaMalfa said. 

LaMalfa says the bill will actually help curb illegal immigration, by providing a legal means for migrants to work seasonally.

“I think when you look across the whole plane here you say, you know, this is pretty fair,” LaMalfa said. 

He says the bill also includes an e-verify system to make sure migrant workers aren’t overstaying their Visas.

The bill now moves to the full House where both Democrats and Republicans say they feel confident it’ll pass.

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