There are many migrant farmworkers in America working on an H-2A visa, and they are in the country without any pathway towards citizenship nor adequate living protections. Many H-2A visa workers are vulnerable to abuse and reluctant to report against their employers who house and pay their wages. There is much work that needs to be done to protect and advocate on behalf of our farmworkers.
As of March 2021, the House of Representatives made key strides towards giving undocumented migrant farmworkers a possible pathway towards U.S. citizenship. The House of Representatives passed two comprehensive immigration bills: (1) the American Dream and Promise Act and (2) the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, allows farmworkers to receive a green card (lawful permanent resident status) if they pay a fee of $1,000 and work an additional four or eight years. Farmworkers with ten years of agricultural work before enactment of the bill must work an additional four years.
Farmworkers with less than ten years of agricultural work before the enactment of the bill must work an additional eight years. Agricultural workers, their spouses, and their unmarried minor children may gain legal status through this continued agricultural employment. Additionally, the H-2A visa program (visa for Temporary Agricultural Workers) has been reformed to reflect more equitable real-word wages and critical protections for workers. Moreover, while there is the ability to self-petition for a green card with the working requirement described above, this bill will also increase the number of green cards available for employer sponsorship.
While these bills have been passed by the House of Representatives, there is still a long road ahead for these two bills. These measures still need approval by the Senate where there is heavy bipartisan politics and paper-thin majorities. The politics surrounding these bills will play a key factor in whether these bills will pass. At least for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, there is some support from the Republican Party because Dan Newhouse, R-Wash cosponsored the bill and this bill recognizes the invaluable contributions that farmworkers bring to America. There is some hope that Representative Newhouse can rally his Republican colleagues to vote in favor of this bill.
If you have questions on how to get an H-2A visa, and/or on any immigration related issues, including these pending bills, please contact us. We are at www.americanvisas.net
Law Office Of Ally Bolour – 145 S. Fairfax Avenue, suite 200, Los angeles CA 90036 – 323-857-0034