Rep. Chu Statement on Farmworker Protections
Washington, DC — The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019. The bill will provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for qualified agricultural workers. It also improves the availability of farmworker housing ensures health and safety protections for workers, including heat stress protection. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:
“We depend on immigrant farm workers to put food on our tables, yet do not provide them with adequate protections or even a chance at a future here. Another word for that is exploitation and it’s wrong. That is why today’s bill is such an important step. First, it provides essential protections from heat stress. This is a necessary measure, since climate change is causing more and more workers to have to labor for hours in temperatures over 110 degrees without access to shade, water, or breaks. H.R. 5038 draws from my own legislation, H.R. 3668, the Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act, which requires OSHA to establish heat stress standards for all workers. The provisions included in H.R. 5038 are an important start that I’m proud to support.
“The Farm Workforce Modernization Act also creates a pathway to citizenship for those who have worked here over a decade and passed a background check. This pathway to citizenship will bring these workers out of the shadows and helps promote the core American value that if you work hard here, you have a future here. This bill is only a start, as many other workers are still deserving of these pathways and protections, but I am pleased that we are able to do the right thing for our farm workers.”