Washington DC – Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) made the following statement regarding his opposition to H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021:
“There is no greater immigration priority than the crisis unfolding on our southern border. Congressional consideration of two mass amnesty bills while this situation worsens is precisely the wrong message to send to the world. And passage of these bills will encourage and reward the dangerous journey that imperils lives and even encourage human trafficking.
“After our border is secured and lawful entry restored, Congress should turn its attention to the persistent agriculture labor workforce shortage. H.R. 1603, however, is not the lasting legal solution needed for the great majority of our nation’s ag sector.
“To end reliance on illegal immigrant labor, the H-2A temporary ag worker program must be made less burdensome for employers. Yet this bill raises government mandated wage rates, adds employer liabilities and extends the list of required benefits making an unpalatable program even less employer friendly.
“Further, I fear the bill will exacerbate the ag labor shortage by creating a pathway to citizenship for approximately one million workers, spouses and children who will leave, or never enter, agricultural positions creating an even larger labor shortage that will need to be backfilled.
“Together, these significant flaws neither fix the perennial labor shortage nor the continued reliance on an illegal workforce. While this bill does not represent a workable nationwide solution, I am committed to helping craft one that will.”
Congressman Issa previously introduced immigration reform measures to create temporary worker visas that facilitate a legal, stable, and non-permanent labor supply for jobs with demonstrable U.S. labor shortages, including agriculture.