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Conservative Review

Vote Alert: Make illegal aliens indentured servants, then give them amnesty

This was a vote on H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bill that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal alien workers in the United States without securing the border or reforming the nation’s immigration system.

This bill creates a new class of immigration titled “Certified Agricultural Worker” (CAW) available to any illegal alien who has worked in agriculture for at least 180 days in the past two years. Once accepted into the program, these illegal aliens can obtain renewable five-year work visas as long as they remain in the agriculture industry. After a two-year period, “Certified Agricultural Worker” aliens will be protected from deportation. Additionally, the bill would suspend active removal proceedings against illegal aliens who are eligible for the program, even those who did not apply for it.

There is a pathway to citizenship in this bill. Illegal aliens who have worked in agriculture in the U.S. for at least 10 years before obtaining CAW status may apply for green cards after working for at least four additional years. Illegal aliens who have lived and worked in the U.S. for fewer than 10 years must work for at least eight years before being eligible for a green card. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has described this program as “an archaic system that resembles indentured servitude.”

Proponents of the legislation argue that there are provisions that strengthen immigration law enforcement. The bill would establish mandatory E-Verify for all agricultural employment, but the program is limited to the agriculture industry and would be implemented over time.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are an estimated 2.4 million farmworkers in the U.S, and at least 47 percent of them are illegal aliens, which is likely a low estimate. This bill provides amnesty and a path to citizenship for these illegal workers without needed reforms to the nation’s immigration process or appropriated measures to strengthen border security. Amnesty will attract more foreigners to enter the United States illegally seeking work, undermining the rule of law, empowering violent drug cartels that deal in human trafficking, and worsen the crisis along the southern border. Limited E-Verify implementation is not worth the trade-offs in this bill.

The House of Representatives voted to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act on December 6, 2019, at 12:39 p.m. ET in a roll call vote of 228 – 187.

To see how your elected officials stack up or other votes that compose the Liberty Score, view our full scorecard here.

CR position: NO

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