AJC Statement on Reform of The Temporary and Seasonal Foreign Agricultural Worker Program

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) endorses the Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act of 2003 (AGJOBS), proposed by United States Senators Edward Kennedy and Larry Craig and Representatives Howard Berman and Chris Cannon. Under this bipartisan bill earned legalization would be granted to undocumented agricultural workers based both on past agricultural work in the United States and a prospective work requirement. In addition, taking into account heightened security concerns, the program would require background checks of applicants. Further, temporary residents who fail to fulfill the agricultural work requirements or are inadmissible under immigration law or have been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors would be denied adjustment to permanent resident status and would be subject to removal.

AJC recognizes that these seasonal agricultural workers, due to their migrant status, are highly vulnerable to economic exploitation and denial of their civil rights, with little ability to defend themselves. We support this legislation because it represents a step forward in putting such workers on the path to eligibility for earned legalization and citizenship, better protecting their rights, their access to our legal system and their stake in our society.1
As adopted by the Board of Governors December 8, 2003

1We understand that in the future other legislative proposals may arise dealing with related subjects, and we will consider these as they come up.
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