Bill aims to protect undocumented farm workers

US Senate works on a bill to get undocumented farm workers a pathway to legal status (May 10, 2017)

Senators Feinstein and Harris are taking on immigration reform with a bill that aims to help undocumented farm workers, shielding them from deportation.
 
This legislation would give undocumented farm workers a blue card if they can prove they have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in the last 2 years.
 
"For many being able to be here illegally is as, or more, important than having better pay, benefits or unionization," United Farm Workers Spokesman Marc Grossman said. 
 
ABC 10's Anne Di Grazia met Grossman to talk about the bill. He said over 50 percent of California's farm workers are undocumented and he hopes this bill will pass. 
 
 "Without farm workers American agriculture would collapse," he said. 
 
With rumors of deportation, Grossman said a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris could protect undocumented farm workers. It would give them the right to stay if they work in agriculture and can prove work history in the industry. The blue card would then be granted which would eventually lead to permanent legal status or a green card. 
 
"It would address the urgent needs of rural communities by allowing the immigrant farm workers who are already here to get them legal status instead of importing guest workers from other places," Grossman said. 
 
This bill is modeled almost identically to a 2013 bipartisan immigration reform bill which passed the senate but not the assembly and with the current legislative landscape no one knows how far it will go this time. 
 
Paul Wenger, President of the California Farm Bureau, said he's happy that some senators are trying to, at least, do something.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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