The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act and The Farm Workforce Modernization Act. While these bills must make their way through the Senate and a potential filibuster, they present the best opportunity to legally recognize the millions of undocumented Americans who are already an integral part of our social and moral fabric. If passed, these undocumented Americans will for the first time have the opportunity to earn citizenship through education, military service, agricultural labor, and humanitarian relief. This will be the first step Congress will take in an attempt to overhaul the overall U.S. immigration system.
“We wanted a labour force, but human beings came” – Max Frisch. As has been the case for much of modern history, often when people move elsewhere for work they develop ties to the people, community, and society at large, creating an issue for those who choose to stay but do not have legal status to do so. The Farm Workforce Modernization act will attempt to change some of those dynamics by creating a process for farmworkers to earn a temporary status as a Certified Agricultural Worker. Individuals could earn this new status if they can show they’ve worked at least 180 days in agriculture over the last two years. Spouses and children of undocumented farmworkers could also apply for temporary status under the act. Individuals could then get a green card after paying a $1,000 fine and completing additional agriculture work. The length of additional work would depend on how they have already worked in the farming industry in the U.S.
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