The House passed a bill on December 11 providing a path to citizenship for the more than one million farmworkers estimated to be in the U.S. illegally on a 260-165 vote, with 34 Republicans voting in favor of the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Senate is expected to ignore it.
The use of temporary farmworker visas (H-2A) has surged in the past ten years:
The bill is a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation, particularly on immigration, where Republicans have generally not supported a citizenship path for any unauthorized immigrants, and Democrats are increasingly loath to support new enforcement measures.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it, the Heritage Foundation opposes it.
The bill (1) It would create a pathway to legalization for current unauthorized agricultural workers, including an eventual option to getting a green card. (2) It would reform modernize the existing H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program, which . And (3), it would require all agriculture employers to implement a reformed “E-Verify” program to ensure their workers are authorized.