Farm Workforce Modernization Act 2021 Passes the House

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 passed in the U.S. House of Representatives this Thursday evening with bipartisan support. Thirty Republicans and all but one Democrat voted in favor of the measure, with a final vote of 274 to 174. The comprehensive bill offers a pathway to legal status for undocumented agricultural workers. A previous version of the bill passed in the House in 2019, but it was never picked up by the Senate. 

In his statement of support, President Biden emphasized the importance of agricultural workers for the country and the economy. He also expressed his hopes that the bill would provide stability and improved working conditions for many undocumented farmworkers. Support for the bill among those in the agricultural industry, however, is more mixed. The director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation said the bill contains “flaws and shortcomings.” Meanwhile, the United Fresh Produce Association President Tom Stenzel confidently claimed the legislation will “stabilize our current workforce and make improvements to ensure that a future workforce is available to meet the growing needs of the fresh produce industry.”

The future of the bill is uncertain. Dan Fazio, the executive director of major H-2A employer Wafla, believes the proposal will undergo major changes as it faces the Senate. Republicans are beginning to adopt harder stances on immigration matters as the number of migrants arriving at the Southern border increases. On the other hand, the bill answers the bipartisan call for a solution to agriculture’s labor crisis. Hopefully, a clearer picture of the bill’s fate will be revealed as California Senator Dianne Feinstein begins negotiations with her colleagues in the coming weeks.


Read Biden’s Official Statement Here:


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