Agribusiness lobbyists are pushing hard for a farmworker amnesty coupled with an expanded agricultural worker guest program akin to indentured servitude. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act has been introduced for several years by members of both parties. With the distraction of the mid-terms elections and control of the next Congress still in doubt, amnesty backers are hopeful that they can sneak something through before this session ends.
Neil Munro at Breitbart News reports on a bi-partisan effort to legalize a million illegal aliens and to expand the current agricultural guest worker program, such as including full-time, year-round dairy workers.
'This is the best chance we’ve got of getting it done,' said one of the giveaway’s supporters, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID). 'I think this is becoming … the last hope,' he told an NPR reporter for a sympathetic November 8 radio segment.
The key player is Simpson’s Republican colleague, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID,), the top Republican in the Senate’s agriculture committee.
But Crapo has held up the bill for more than a year amid much opposition from voters in his state. That holdup has been quietly supported by passive opposition from many Republican legislators.
Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) has made a vigorous push for the legislation, and she is not hesitant to point out that it is intended to benefit agribusinesses operators by keeping wages for farm workers depressed.
The bill implements a wage freeze for the year 2020 [for 250,000 H-2A visa workers]. This is a very important matter for employers, [and] wages are expected to increase by another seven to eight percent next year. Under this bill, those wage increases won’t happen.
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Updated: Fri, Nov 11th 2022 @ 3:42pm EST