Agriculture is one of the biggest industries for seasonal workers. During the growing seasoning, farmers in Georgia require a lot of extra help to ensure everything goes the way it should to grow crops or get animals to market. Farming is the backbone of the country, feeding America and many other parts of the world. Immigration policies, though, can often make it difficult for farmers to get the workers they need.
Local workers often do not want to work in a seasonal position, or they can find better-paying jobs elsewhere. This leaves a large majority of the industry looking to immigrants to fill positions. Modern Farmer explains the Farm Workforce Modernization Act aims to make it easier for immigrants who want to work on farms in the U.S.
This act would help to make changes to the visa immigrants get when working in agriculture. It would help to regularly increase wages and guarantee work hours. It would also introduce 40,000 new green cards for full-time workers in year-round positions, such as on dairy farms.
The act would also help them to earn special eligibility depending on how long they work. For example, if a person works 180 days on a farm within the past two years, he or she gains eligibility for a five-year renewable visa. Working longer could possibly lead to eligibility for permanent legal status.
There is not bipartisan support for this bill, though. It went through many changes in the House before passing with only minimal support from conservatives. It also does not have the full support in the industry due to some of the changes. Many have concerns over the bill not repairing a broken system and just offering quick fixes.
If this act passes through both Houses of Congress, then it could have a very positive impact on immigration within the farm industry. However, it may see further changes that could reduce the benefits before that ever happens.