Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07011668 (posted Jan. 16, 2007)"
On 1/10/07, Senators Kennedy (D-MA), Feinstein (D-CA), and Craig (R-ID) and Representatives Berman (D-CA) and Cannon (R-UT) introduced the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security (AgJOBS) Act of 2007 (S.237/H.R. 371).
[Update: On 1/18/07, Senator Feinstein re-filed AgJOBS as S. 340.]
Original cosponsors of the bill also included Senators Boxer (D-CA), Martinez (R-FL), and Voinovich (R-OH); and Representatives Baca (D-CA), Bishop (D-GA), Boyd (D-FL), Costa (D-CA), Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Farr (D-CA), Gilchrest (R-MD), Kuhl (R-NY), LaHood (R-IL), Larsen (D-WA), McHugh (R-NY), Nunes (R-CA), Peterson (D-MN), Putnam (R-FL), Radanovich (R-CA), Reynolds (R-NY), Salazar (D-CO), Solis (D-CA), Thompson (D-CA), Walsh (R-NY).
[Original cosponsors for the re-filed S. 340 include Senators Feinstein, Boxer, Craig, Kennedy, Martinez, and Voinovich, as well as 11 additional members: Senators Clinton (D-NY), Domenici (R-MN), Hagel (R-NE), Kohl (D-WI), Leahy (D-VT), McCain (R-AZ), Murray (D-WA), Obama (D-IL), Salazar (D-CO), Schumer (D-NY), and Specter (R-PA).]
The bipartisan AgJOBS legislation aims to achieve a stable and legal agricultural work force through a two-pronged approach that includes: (1) a two-step earned adjustment program under which undocumented agricultural workers already in the U.S. may apply for temporary resident immigration status and then earn permanent resident immigration status by completing 3-5 years of additional employment and meeting other requirements; and (2) reform of the H-2A agricultural temporary work program to create a streamlined, secure, and fair visa system that accommodates the needs of workers and employers.
The AgJOBS Act of 2007 is largely the same as the version passed last year by the Senate as part of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611). Changes to this year's bill include adjustments to the work requirements and a clarification of the status of spouses and minor children of farmworkers during the "blue card" status period.
A six-page summary of the bill, as well as a recent Policy Update, can be found on the Farmworker Justice website. Farmworker Justice also maintains a helpful AgJOBS update web page that includes information on the bill and congressional action related to foreign agricultural workers. The text of the AgJOBS Act will be posted on the Text of Bills section of InfoNet as soon as it is available.