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Amnesty for farm workers legislation being pushed

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Farm worker advocates want Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill to support new legislation that would give those who work in the fields a chance to gain legal residency.

The bill would allow farm workers to apply for temporary amnesty if they continue to work in agriculture for at least three years. Virginia Nesmith, executive director of the St. Louis-based National Farm Workers Ministry, says the so-called AgJOBS bill is critical to the future of the U.S. food supply.

"Many of our fruits and vegetables are picked by immigrant workers and many of those workers don't have legal status and so to help insure a secure and stable food supply and to provide protections for those workers who do such critical work here, we have been supporting this bill."

A spokeswoman for McCaskill says the senator has not decided whether to support the legislation but she is generally opposed to expanding guest worker programs. Previous efforts to pass similar bills in Congress have not been successful.

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