The U.S. House of Representatives today again failed to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, even though it contained many provisions supported by President Trump.
The measure failed on a 121 to 301 vote, with 112 Republicans and all Democrats voting against bill. The AG jobs bill was not part of the final immigration package that ultimately went down in defeat.
“We were encouraged by negotiations over the weekend that would have added a farm guest worker visa program, including multiple NMPF-backed improvements,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “This effort to expand the appeal of the overall measure demonstrated the need to tackle the farm worker issue sooner rather than late….
“However, we are deeply disappointed that a small group of House members chose to undermine this good work by refusing to compromise, undermining good faith negotiations and ultimately preventing forward progress. This kind of hostage-taking cannot continue if Congress is to make meaningful progress on a critical issue for our country.”
The AG Act would have allowed foreign-born dairy workers to apply for H2C visas, which in turn would allow them to stay in the United States year-round on at least a 36-month, renewable visa, with some touchback provisions that would require them to leave the country for a total of 45 days during that time.
Mulhern is hopeful Congress will re-visit the immigration issue later this summer. “We know there are many [House] members in both parties who are eager to forge solutions to these complicated issues, and we are hopeful that this is not the end of the process. Dairy cannot wait any longer.”