Many in the farm industry have expressed their pleasure with the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The bipartisan legislation put forward by Representative Dan Newhouse and others lays out options for foreign laborers to become legal citizens, while ensuring that farmers have the needed workers to ensure operations are maintained.
While members of the Ag labor sectors were involved in the conversation, some specifically, the Community to Community Development league are now claiming the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is not good for laborers.
Rosalinda Guillen with the farmworkers’ rights group said she has concerns the E-Verify portion of the legislation could make some in the immigrant community nervous. “In Washington state, E-Verify is optional. So, to force the agricultural employers into this E-Verify mandate – it’s wrong, during this anti-immigrant climate with the Trump administration.”
Guillen added she also opposes the bill because it would expand the H-2A guest farmworker program she says has exploited foreign laborers and displaced domestic farm workers. However she did not provide examples of this exploitation or where specifically it occurs in Washington Ag.