On Thursday, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support two bills that aim to modernize America’s immigration system: The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) which offers a path to lawful permanent resident status for those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also known as Dreamers, along with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients, and The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603), a bipartisan bill which aims to create a workforce solution for one of America’s most critical economic sectors—the agriculture industry.
The Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support, establishes a path to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for Dreamers and for certain individuals who either held or were eligible for TPS or DED. The majority of these individuals have been in the United States for much of their lives, often with work authorization and temporary protections against deportation. Five years after attaining full LPR status, individuals are then eligible to apply for citizenship. According to recent polling, this concept has been supported by nearly 75 percent of the American public.
“Dreamers and TPS holders are our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. They strengthen our communities as teachers, first responders, members of our military, and entrepreneurs,” said Rep. Kilmer. “For so many reasons, we must create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and create security and stability for long standing TPS and DED holders. It’s past time that Congress acts to ensure that people who have lived in the United States for years receive real protections under the law and a path forward towards legal citizenship.”
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill which passed the House 247-174, aims to ensure farmers can meet their labor needs by establishing a program for agricultural workers, their spouses and minor children through which they can earn legal Certified Agricultural Worker (CAW) status through continued agricultural employment. The legislation also reforms the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program to provide more flexibility for employers, while ensuring critical protections for workers. Additionally, to ensure a legal workforce for the agriculture sector, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act establishes a mandatory, nationwide E-Verify system to ensure compliance with the reformed H-2A visa program while also protecting workers’ due process rights.
“Having met with farmers and ranchers throughout our state, I know that they are persistently challenged to find laborers who can support their work,” said Rep. Kilmer. “What’s more, based on the outdated polies of the current immigration workforce system, there is tremendous uncertainty both for workers and for employers. That’s why I’m supporting the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act – which enacts reforms to ensure a reliable, stable, and legal source of guest workers in agriculture – providing certainty to employers and to workers.”