Farm worker advocates hailed passage today (Wednesday, Dec. 11) by the House of Representatives of H.R.5038, the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019. This bill is the result of months of difficult negotiations between Members of Congress from both parties, the United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation, Farmworker Justice and most of the nation’s major grower associations. This is the first time in decades that the full House, under either party, has enacted an agricultural labor immigration bill. It would not have happened without the dedication of Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). Also deserving credit are Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the chief Republican negotiators—Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).
“Today’s House vote for bipartisan legislation letting undocumented farm workers and their immediate family members earn legal status is the result of the tenacious leadership farm workers showed after traveling across the country to lobby on Capitol Hill,” said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. “Legislators have voted in favor of protecting the people whose hands harvest the fruits and vegetables offered in congressional buildings’ cafeterias and all of American’s kitchen tables. Whether it is through organizing in congressional districts or walking the halls of Congress, farm workers are a force that deserves recognition during the nine months it took to craft and get the legislation through the House.”
“Through their hard work, farm workers have earned the right to a stable future in the United States,” said UFW President Teresa Romero. “We feel confident as the measure moves to the Senate and look forward to partnering with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a strong champion for farm workers.”
The farm worker advocates also recognized the key roles played by Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Jimmy Panetta, Linda Sanchez, Salud Carbajal, Norma Torres, Karen Bass, Marcia Fudge, Veronica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Lou Correa, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Juan Vargas, TJ Cox, Judy Chu, Collin Peterson, Maxine Waters, Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Raul Grijalva, Tony Cardenas, Joaquin Castro, Marcy Kaptur, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Judiciary and Rules committees, and the bill’s 62 bipartisan cosponsors.
Farm workers from California and Washington who traveled to Washington, D.C. are available for interviews. Workers from other parts of the United States who actively lobbied for the legislation and participated in the negotiations are also available for interviews.