U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that an agreement has been reached addressing immigrant farm workers in the upcoming comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Over the past several weeks, Senator Feinstein has hosted a series of meetings between Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), along with farm worker representatives and a wide range of agricultural employers. The agreement includes three key provisions on farm worker wage levels, caps on agricultural guest worker visas and protections for U.S. workers.
Senator Feinstein said: "After months of negotiation, I can announce that a bipartisan agreement has been reached addressing key issues of agricultural workers in the forthcoming comprehensive immigration reform bill. Senators Rubio, Bennet, Hatch and I have worked closely with farm workers and representatives from numerous agricultural sectors across the country--all have come together to endorse this agreement, which resolves outstanding issues including wage levels, agricultural guest worker visas and protections for U.S. workers."
Senator Bennet said: "This agreement means that Colorado growers and producers from the Western Slope to the Eastern Plains won't have to watch their crops rot in the ground or wither on the vines while also providing important protections for workers. With Senator Feinstein's leadership and the efforts of Senators Rubio and Hatch, we worked tirelessly with farm workers and growers to resolve this critical issue. This is a crucial step as momentum builds toward introducing a bill to fix broken our immigration system."
Senator Hatch said: "Agricultural immigration issues are extraordinarily complicated. And that the farmers and workers have come together to back this consensus proposal is an achievement that only weeks ago didn't seem possible. This agreement balances America's farming needs and the needs of both American and immigrant farm workers, and I commend everyone involved for coming together to reach this solution. Finally, while I understand this will be included in the Gang of 8 proposal, no one should assume that I'm backing their overall plan. It has not been released and I need to read it and understand its full implications before deciding whether or not to support it."