Farm workers to lobby this week for immigration bill
More than 60 farm workers from around the country are traveling to Washington this week to urge the Senate to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, the United Farm Workers, the UFW Foundation, Pineros Campesinos Union del Norte (PCUN), and La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) announced Monday.
The bill, which is a compromise between farm and labor leaders, is supported by most farm groups, except the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The House has passed the bill, but Senate advocates have been unable to convince enough Republicans to support the bill in order to get the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. The bill received 247 Democratic votes and 30 Republican votes in the House, but lobbyists for the bill fear that passing it in the next Congress would be close to impossible if the Republicans gain control of the House.
Farm workers from major agricultural states will be a part of the delegation including workers from Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Michigan, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, and Virginia. Some have already arrived in Washington while others were in transit Monday, a UFW spokesman said.
“Providing America’s agricultural workforce with the legal status and stability they have earned is a crucial factor in ensuring America’s food security,” said UFW President Teresa Romero.
“On Thanksgiving, when Americans gather with family to give thanks for the food on their table, we ask Congress to show its thanks to essential farm workers and their families by passing this common sense bipartisan legislation.”
“This Thanksgiving, families all over the country will enjoy the food brought to their tables by farm workers,” said UFW Foundation Chief Executive Officer Diana Tellefson Torres.
“Farm workers demonstrated during the pandemic that they are at the very core of our food security. These hardworking men and women have earned the opportunity to apply for legal status. Let’s give thanks to those who nourish this nation by passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act through Congress.”
Kenny Barnwell, an apple farmer in North Carolina, told NPR that employers also believe Congress should pass the bill.