Urgent Amendments Needed to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 and the Passage of Dreamers Legislation
The U. S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021. NFL President Manuel Cunha stated, “Unfortunately, their version of the legislation did not include employees of packing houses or processing facilities under the definition of ‘agricultural labor or services.’ It is our desire to expand the definition to include employees vital to our community and economic sectors.”
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 would provide farmworkers, who are invaluable to our economy and have lived in this country for years, even decades, an opportunity to earn citizenship.
Community leaders are concerned. Orange Cove City Mayor Victor Lopez said “the hard-working people in our community who work in packing houses should be treated fairly. We urge the Senate to adopt language expanding the definition of the farm workforce.”
Parlier Mayor Alma Beltran, added, “We support our farmworkers. We do not want to split up families. We want our communities to be strong and viable.”
Most recently, the Nisei Farmers League, the African American Farmers of California, the Insure America Project, and numerous Mayors wrote letters to U. S. Senators Feinstein and U. S. Senator Padilla asking them to include employees who work in packing houses and processing facilities to be added to the Senate version of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021. Cunha stated, “We intend to contact 43 cities in the Sand Joaquin Valley for their support.”
Cunha further stated, “We are also asking legislation for Dreamers be passed concurrently. In light of the recent federal ruling that new applications for DACA must stop, it is even more important our ‘Dreamers’ are not forgotten in the effort to legalize agricultural workers. In our communities, many Dreamers have parents working in agriculture. To not move forward with DACA legislation leaves thousands to uncertain futures and possible family separations.”