Pelosi Says House Has Passed Bill Giving ‘Pathway to Legal Status for…Undocumented Farmworkers’

By CNSNews.com Staff | March 31, 2021 | 3:02pm EDT
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) marked Cesar Chavez Day on Wednesday by putting out a statement in which she noted that the House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would give a “pathway to legal status for more than a million currently undocumented farmworkers.”

The legislation Pelosi was referring to is H.R. 1603, the “Farm Workforce Modernization Act.” The House approved it by 247 to 174 vote on March 18. Thirty Republicans voted for it, but only one Democrat voted against it.

“On César Chávez Day, our nation honors an icon and an unyielding voice for justice and opportunity, whose visionary leadership for America’s farm workers helped advance a brighter future for all hard-working Americans,” Pelosi said. “In relentlessly pursuing fairness, security and dignity for the men and women who pick our food and feed our communities, Chávez ignited a movement around the world and taught us all the true meaning of justice.”

“This month, inspired by César Chávez's bold advocacy and guided by the brilliant organizing of Chávez's United Farm Workers, House Democrats delivered progress, passing H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act,” Pelosi said.

“This overwhelmingly popular, bipartisan legislation honors the millions of farmworkers who are the backbone of our economy and provides stability, predictability and fairness to both farmworkers and growers,” she said. 

“This landmark bill also offers an earned pathway to legal status for more than a million currently undocumented farmworkers, because those who work to feed America should be entitled to fairness and justice,” Pelosi said.

According to the summary of the bill produced by the Congressional Research Service, it will create what is called a “certified agricultural worker (CAW).”

To qualify for this status, a person must be an illegal alien who has been working in the United States.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may grant CAW status to an applying alien who (1) performed at least 1,035 hours of agricultural labor during the two-year period prior to March 8, 2021; (2) on that date was inadmissible, deportable, or under a grant of deferred enforced departure or temporary protected status; and (3) has been continuously present in the United States from that date until receiving CAW status,” says the CRS summary. “The bill imposes additional crime-related inadmissibility grounds on CAW applicants and makes some other grounds inapplicable.”

Here is the full text of Pelosi's statement:

San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement in honor of César Chávez Day, which commemorates the civil and labor rights leader’s birthday, March 31, 1927:

“On César Chávez Day, our nation honors an icon and an unyielding voice for justice and opportunity, whose visionary leadership for America’s farm workers helped advance a brighter future for all hard-working Americans.  In relentlessly pursuing fairness, security and dignity for the men and women who pick our food and feed our communities, Chávez ignited a movement around the world and taught us all the true meaning of justice.

“For over a year, the pandemic and economic crisis have inflicted a devastating toll on immigrant communities and our frontline heroes, including our farmworkers, while also accelerating a labor crisis on our nation’s farms.  This month, inspired by César Chávez's bold advocacy and guided by the brilliant organizing of Chávez's United Farm Workers, House Democrats delivered progress, passing H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.  This overwhelmingly popular, bipartisan legislation honors the millions of farmworkers who are the backbone of our economy and provides stability, predictability and fairness to both farmworkers and growers.  This landmark bill also offers an earned pathway to legal status for more than a million currently undocumented farmworkers, because those who work to feed America should be entitled to fairness and justice.     

“This César Chávez Day, Congressional Democrats recommit to our works to stabilize the farm economy, protect workers and families and maintain America's agricultural preeminence in the world.  Together with Senate Democrats and the Biden-Harris Administration, we are committed to fixing our broken immigration system so we can honor America's proud immigrant heritage and advance progress for all.  During this celebration, César Chávez's life’s work remains our unfinished mission: to put the American Dream within reach for all.”

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