FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Manly, National Young Farmers Coalition
firstname.lastname@example.org , 518-643-3564 ext. 722
Washington, D.C. (March 18, 2021) – The National Young Farmers Coalition has joined over 300 advocates in endorsing several legislative proposals for immigrant and workers’ rights. The Coalition commends the bills’ sponsors for their commitment to supporting essential workers for their enduring contributions during the pandemic.
“We are committed to using our organizational power to amplify allies’ efforts to include farm workers and other food systems workers in pandemic relief bills,” said Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Federal Policy Associate. “A path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers like farmers and farm workers is a step in the right direction to transforming the current immigration system and strengthening our food system.”
With the guidance of our Young Farmers Policy Committee and our allies on immigrant rights, we have endorsed the following legislative proposals:
The Citizenship Act of 2021
Young Farmers endorses this bill, which will allow undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status and enable these individuals to apply for green cards after five years if they pass criminal and national security background checks and pay their taxes. Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, and immigrant farm workers who meet specific requirements would be eligible for green cards immediately.
The Citizenship for Essential Workers Act of 2021
Young Farmers endorses this bill which provides a path to citizenship for “essential immigrant workers” and their families. The bill extends this long-overdue path to citizenship to people on non-immigrant visas who are essential workers as well as the parents, spouses, and children of essential workers. Young Farmers applauds how essential workers are very broadly defined to cover both federal and state definitions of essential workers. This broad definition will allow for many food and farm essential workers to be eligible for citizenship.
Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021
Young Farmers endorses this bill which would create a pathway to legalization for current unauthorized agricultural workers, including an eventual option to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). A path to immigration status for undocumented farm workers is critically important to our nation’s food and agriculture system. This bill will honor and dignify our farm worker community members with a long-delayed update to the rights they deserve.
The National Young Farmers Coalition affirms that our health and economic well-being depends on that of our neighbors’, regardless of their immigration status and race. It is imperative that elected officials provide immigrants in the food system and immigrant farmers with the resources and protections needed to weather this challenging moment, and into the future.
“We invest in the resilience of our food system when we invest in the well-being and safety of our farmworker communities,” said Martin Lemos, Co-Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition. “Federal policy fosters a more equitable future for agriculture when it addresses the risks and instabilities that threaten agriculture. By opening new and expanding paths to citizenship we eliminate an unnecessary risk that threatens our farm workers and jeopardizes our agricultural system. These immigration policies are critical for the stability and resilience of our food system.”