Jobs Legislation Would Help Undocumented Workers

The Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Securities, AgJOBS, Act of 2009, introduced by Dianne Feinstein, could help undocumented farm workers obtain legal status in the United States. Introduced last year, if this bill passes it could significantly alter immigrant farm labor.

The bill proposes altering H-2A and would allow an estimated 1.32 million undocumented laborers to apply for blue cards, which would allow them to legally live and work in the United States for up to five years and could be the first step in obtaining a green card, which would allow for permanent residency.

In addition to helping undocumented laborers, the bill could significantly benefit American farmers and agricultural producers. “Today across the United States, there are not enough agricultural workers to pick, prune, pack, or harvest our country’s crops. With an inadequate supply of workers, farmers from Maine to California, and from Washington State to Georgia, have watched their produce rot and their farms lay fallow over the years,” Feinstein said. According to Feinstein, this bill would ensure a constant and reliable source of agricultural labor, which would benefit farmers and ranchers throughout the United States.

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