Farm Workforce Modernization
“Congressman, you’ve been working on a bill for over six months that will put a sensible plan into motion to provide a legal path for the farmers and ranchers of not only Idaho, but the entire country, all of whom will tell you that they desperately need labor which the American workforce is not willing to take on. Is that correct?
Yeah, that's correct. We have been working on this for six or seven months, and it's been a bipartisan effort between a few Democrats and a few Republicans. And the one thing that farmers have told me ever since I first got elected is we need a legal workforce. And I think this bill addresses much of those needs. It improves the H-2A program. It creates five year renewable visas and it creates an option for permanent resident status. And some people are going to say that this creates amnesty. It doesn’t. Amnesty is not involved in this at all. What it does is it creates an option for this workforce to become legal so that we don't have to worry about them being deported and that type of thing. And of course, in the agricultural industry, these people are performing important jobs that frankly, a lot of Americans won't fill those jobs. And it creates what we haven't had before is a year round program also for those industries that have year round labor like dairy and cattle industry. I think it's a good compromise. We've worked with both the producers and the farm workers union to try to address their concerns on both sides. And I think we've done a pretty good job.