Sen. Charles Schumer says farmers, especially in the dairy industry, will find it easier to secure a reliable labor force under sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws proposed in an 844-page bipartisan bill.
Schumer says the bill, filed at 2 a.m. Wednesday, creates a new visa program that will allow farmers to hire year-round workers and end reliance on illegal laborers.
Delegations of upstate New York farmers have traveled to Washington to lobby for an expansion of the guest-worker program for agriculture. Right now, dairy farms are ineligible for the temporary visa program, which is only for seasonal workers. Dairy farms need workers year-round.
Schumer says the bill will also ease the labor shortage for northeastern apple and vegetable growers.
The bill is sparking intense debate on Capitol Hill.