Agricultural Amendments to Immigration Bill Still Under Debate

Immigration bill expected to come to vote later this week with several agricultural provisions

The farm bill isn’t the only legislation that matters in the food world. The immigration bill doesn’t sound like an issue of culinary concern at first, but several of the legislation’s provisions are related to agriculture.

The bill will be voted on in the Senate most likely tomorrow or Friday, which means senators are in the last leg of negotiating and finalizing amendments.

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has proposed a number of agriculture amendments. According to Chambliss, “Right now it’s frankly too easy when it come to the base bill, if you’re in agriculture, to get a green card — and it needs to be tightened up.”

Currently, an annual allowance of 112,333 visas is allocated four times a year. One of Chambliss’ proposals seeks to change this to twice a year, where 70 percent of them will be distributed in January in order to coordinate with hiring schedules.

The United Farm Workers (UFW) association is currently rallying support for the bill. Writes the UFW President, “The timing is key and your help today is crucial…This bipartisan legislation is so important to farm workers since it includes agricultural provisions negotiated by the UWF, major grower associations and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).”

Another of Chambliss’ provisions would expedite the ten year process to get a permanent legal resident status by five years.

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Whether these amendments will gain enough support on the floor is still to be determined. Click here to contact your senator.