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Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Delivers Wins for Colonias and Farmworkers

Urges Creation of the Office of Colonias and Farmworker Initiatives at the Department of Agriculture

Washington | Tony Wen, Press Secretary (202-856-8750), April 9, 2024

Last month, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Ph.D. (TX-28), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, voted to pass the FY24 government funding bills that contain provisions to improve quality of life for both colonia and farmworker communities.

“As a son of migrant farmworkers, I know firsthand the challenges that the men and women who harvest our food face. Some live in colonias, where access to adequate housing, health care, and clean water remains a persistent challenge,” said Dr. Cuellar. “I voted for the FY24 government funding bills and secured funding for federal programs that support South Texas farmworker communities and improve the quality of life for residents in colonias. Our farmworkers deserve better, and I remain committed to fighting for them.”

Dr. Cuellar helped secure language urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create an Office of Colonias and Farmworker Initiatives to streamline and coordinate existing Federal programs that serve border colonias and farmworkers—including programs that provide housing, health care, water infrastructure, and broadband assistance. This language builds on the Office of Colonias and Farmworker Initiatives Establishment Act of 2023 that he introduced last year.

Specifically, Dr. Cuellar championed provisions that will provide:

  • $65,000,000 for grants for colonias, and Alaskan and Hawaiian native villages under the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program;
  • $97,396,000 for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs;
  • $375,626,000 for the State Agency Program for Migrant Education;
  • $52,123,000 for Special Programs for Migrant Students at the Department of Education;
  • Directives for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support non-profit organizations to provide technical assistance and/or construction projects to help colonias communities with accessing the USDA’s water and wastewater programs and services; and,
  • Directives for the USDA to explore strategies to adopt and address challenges faced by rural border colonias.