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As the grandson of immigrants who realized the American dream of freedom, prosperity, and equality, I firmly believe that diversity within our country must be valued, not belittled.

We must never forget that being American means that we bear the burden to serve one another and welcome people of all religions and nationalities who are willing to come here and share in that responsibility.

I have made bipartisan immigration reform one of my top priorities in Congress. I will readily accept the chance to work across the aisle to develop an effective solution for immigrant families and individuals who call our district home.  


More on Immigration

June 9, 2017 In The News

Democratic Congressman Jimmy Panetta has moved forward on two initiatives to support the nation's agricultural industry. Panetta, who represents the 20th congressional district, which includes major growing regions in the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys and parts of Santa Clara Valley, has joined forces with Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois to establish the bipartisan Congressional Agriculture Research Caucus.

June 7, 2017 In The News

WATSONVILLE >> Agricultural workers and their families could become eligible to apply for a “blue card” that would give them a one-time opportunity to acquire legal citizenship status and work authorization if they show consistent employment in U.S. agriculture over the past two years, pay a fine and pass a thorough background check.

June 5, 2017 In The News
The silver lining of the roiling immigration debate is that it’s finally being discussed, says Live Earth Farm’s Broz. “Maybe it takes an administration like the one we have right now to [make people] realize what’s at stake,” he says. “[Maybe] enough people will put pressure on elected officials to implement comprehensive immigration reform. Things might come to a head where things have to get done.” The trick in getting the new administration’s ear, says Panetta, will be to drive home the economic argument—that the Central Coast’s $9 billion ag and nearly $3 billion hospitality industries, for instance, are inextricably linked to immigrant labor. “We know on the Central Coast how important immigration is to this area—without immigrants the economy would be devastated and the Central Coast would almost shut down,” Panetta says. “First thing is you’ve got to get Donald Trump out to the district, out to the fields,” Panetta continues. “This is a guy who grew up in Queens, who lived in a golden tower. The last person he picked in his cabinet was the secretary of agriculture. In the budget he put forward, he wants to cut 21% from the USDA. We need to speak to him on economic terms and let him know that the food he eats doesn’t just come from the store, but it comes from the fields. And in order to get from the field into your mouth, it takes people—especially with our specialty crops on the Central Coast.”
May 25, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and 26 of his House Democratic colleagues introduced a bill to legalize the immigration status of farm workers working in American agriculture. The bill, of which Congressman Panetta is an original co-sponsor, would create a program that would allow agricultural workers and their families to apply for a “Blue Card” that gives them legal status and work authorization if they show consistent employment in U.S.

May 23, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) released the following statement today in response to President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, “A New Foundation for American Greatness”:

“President Trump’s damaging budget proposal would slash government programs critical to families, students, and businesses on the central coast of California.

May 4, 2017 In The News

OPN Connect: You were sworn in on January 3, 2017. What are your initial impressions as a freshman member of Congress?

May 3, 2017 In The News
Congressman says he has not missed any votes and has played a role in 50 pieces of legislation so far
April 26, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) authored a letter sent Tuesday to President Donald Trump urging him and his administration to collaborate with Congress to improve our nation’s immigration system. Cosigned by Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), Jim Costa (D-CA-16), and David G. Valadao (R-CA-21), the bipartisan letter highlights the critical role that immigrants play in California’s agriculture industry, which feeds the world.

April 24, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) released the following statement about the confirmation of Sonny Perdue as the 31st Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“Producers, shippers, and farm workers on the central coast of California deserve a strong voice in support of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs on which rural communities like ours depend. I hope that Secretary Perdue will be that voice and that he will stand firm against the administration’s proposed 21% Agriculture budget cuts.

April 24, 2017 In The News
Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., who represents the Salinas Valley and the U.S. "salad bowl," said he hoped to work with Perdue and expects him the "stand firm" against proposed budget cuts. "During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Perdue called immigration reform one of his top priorities," Panetta noted. "I look forward to working with Secretary Perdue to address our country’s broken immigration system to ensure certainty for both our growers and farmworkers.”