Colorado’s Democratic U.S senator, Michael Bennet of Denver, introduced legislation this week to shield farmworkers from deportations, while putting them on a path to citizenship.
“Colorado’s $40 billion agriculture economy relies on an experienced workforce,” Bennet said in a statement. “The failure to fix our broken immigration system has had real economic consequences for our farmers and ranchers. This bill serves as a necessary step until we can enact a long-term solution by passing comprehensive immigration reform.”
Under the act, farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in each of the past two years could get a “blue card.” Those maintaining a blue card for three or five years, depending on the total hours they worked, would be eligible to adjust to a green card that allows legal residency.
Bennet was a member of the bipartisan Gang of Eight in 2013 that passed comprehensive immigration reform out of the Senate, then watched it wither on the vine in the Republican-led House.
His Agricultural Worker Program Act has virtually no chance of becoming law, however, with President Trump in the White House and his fellow Republicans in charge of the House and Senate.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that almost half of America’s 1.1 million farmworkers are undocumented.
Democrats say Trump’s pledge on massive deportations could devastate the U.S. agriculture industry.
Bennet introduced the bill with Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California.
Bennet’s office provided a list of organization’s supporting the bill.
- Alianza Americas
- America’s Voice
- American GI Forum
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice
- Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
- Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network.
- Center for American Progress
- Church World Service
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
- East Coast Migrant Head Start Project
- Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO
- Farm Worker Association of Florida
- Farmworker Justice
- Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
- Hispanic Federation
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
- La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE)
- Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
- LatinoJustice PRLDEF
- League of United Latin American Citizens
- MAFO Inc.
- Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund
- National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives
- National Association of Hispanic Publications
- National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures
- National Council of La Raza
- National Latina/o Psychological Association
- National Hispanic Medical Association
- National Immigration Law Center
- National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
- National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association
- PICO National Network
- Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
- SER-Jobs for Progress National Inc.
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- U.S.- Mexico Foundation
- United Farm Workers
- United Migrant Opportunity Services/UMOS Inc.
- United States Hispanic Leadership Institute
- United We Dream
- We Are Casa
- William C. Velasquez Institute
- Worker Justice Center of New Yprk