ACTION: AgJobs Reintroduced Today, Show your Support!


Today, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL) introduced the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act, aka AgJOBS. This bill has bipartisan support and the backing of business and labor interests. The push of the bill is the stabilization of the labor market in the agricultural industry and earned path to citizenship for eligible farmworkers

Click here to send your Member of Congress a message telling them to support AgJobs!

From United Farmworkers

Who are America’s farm workers? You don’t see them in the restaurants, grocery stores or farmers’ markets where you buy your food. They are part of an invisible world where the food just appears on the shelves.

Here are some facts about the people who labor in our fields. They work in substandard conditions for wages far below the poverty line. Their real wages have not increased in nearly 30 years. The average farm worker makes just $13,000 per year. Many have no health care and can’t take time off to seek medical care for themselves or their families. They often live in decrepit housing that you wouldn’t even let your dog live in. Unsafe working conditions and injuries on the job are common occurrences. Many employers use the threat of deportation to ensure workers’ silence.

There’s a bipartisan immigration bill before Congress that could drastically improve the lives of these men and women who pick our country’s food. It’s called AgJOBS–The Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act (S. 1038, Feinstein).

AgJOBS represents a critical opportunity for farm workers and their employers to finally address this crisis. It’s a compromise that will provide America with a stable farm labor force, help ensure that farm workers are treated fairly, and finally give the men and women who pick our food the opportunity to come out of the shadows and earn legal status and fair wages in safe conditions.

This bill is a great step towards the end goal of comprehensive immigration reform. The unique needs of the agricultural sector merit a separate piece of legislation for those needs to be met. We applaud Senator Feinstein and Reps Berman and Putnam for introducing this important piece of legislation and hope that when the time comes for an immigration reform bill to hit Congress, we can count on their backing.

Click here to send your Member of Congress a message telling them to support AgJobs!

4 responses to “ACTION: AgJobs Reintroduced Today, Show your Support!

  1. Robert Gittelson

    This is an interesting, if not entirely unexpected development. Certainly both AgJobs and DreamAct are much needed programs, and are more than deserving of becoming the law of the land.

    However, while these pieces of immigration reform legislation are important components of comprehensive immigration reform, in the absence of any pending CIR bill before Congress, these pieces of legislation may serve to undermine the full coalition that will certainly be required to pass CIR. We will need every vote that we can muster in the Senate to overcome the 60 vote filibuster threshold.

    I suspect that passing these two pending independent CIR components will be easy, relatively speaking. Therefore, we should pragmatically be wary of the “easy fix.” Passing these bills will be easy for a reason, and that reason is that the savvy restrictionists will be more than happy to “cave in” on these “minor components,” reasoning, perhaps correctly, that passing these pieces of CIR will undermine the ability of CIR advocates to garner the full chorus of votes that will be required for any possibility of getting the “whole enchilada.”

    I guess that I am a “whole enchilada” kind of reform advocate. I council my fellow advocates to be patient, and keep our powder dry until we can see the “whites of the restrictionist’s eyes.”

    While Dream and AgJobs will benefit as many as a couple of million people, a full CIR will benefit at least 10-12 million people. Do we dare risk getting some of what is needed, at the cost of not getting all that is needed? Do the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many?

    I suggest that we examine this carefully. Passing these two bills seems suspiciously like a trap. I urge my fellow advocates, in the strongest possible terms to tread lightly, and consider this strategy carefully. The restrictionists have caused millions of worthy potential U.S. citizens three extra years of hardship, worry, and despair. Since CIR was beaten by the restrictionists in 2006, thousands of families have been torn apart, and our economy has suffered more than it should and would have had CIR passed in 2006 or 2007.

    However, the restrictionists are now on the the ropes, and literally all of the momentum is on the side of the proponents of positive change. Why should be settle for table scraps, just when we can enjoy the full feast that we deserve, and have been forced to patiently wait for?

    I sincerely want to see AgJobs and the DreamAct become law. There is nothing wrong, and everything right about what these two bills will accomplish for deserving people. But again, with a small amount of patience, and a fair amount of “moxy,” we can get these bills passed, and not at the expense of CIR, but through the passage of a full CIR. We’ve waited for more than three years for CIR. After all, what’s a few more months at this point? Let nothing fracture our fragile yet sufficient coalition. Let us hold for for what we really need, not what we can easily get. Victory is within our grasp. Patience, vigilance, and determination must be our plan.

    Robert Gittelson

  2. Immigration reform is necessary to keep the hard working families that are taxes paying and law abiding individual that have and continual to support the United States. They are the backbone of our country.This country was developed and structured with the sweat and blood of immigrants. This country is known to be the land of opportunity for all. It has been said that if you work hard you can achieve the American dream.Do not let this become a nightmare where families will continual to be separated by deportation hearing.This is an opportunity to turn back the clock and make sure that we keep families together and allow these law abiding individuals and families to come out the shadows of society.

  3. Ricardo Ramirez

    We need a new immigration reform to keep families toguether

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