Proposed H-2C Ag Immigration Program to Head to Committee

September 21, 2017 10:53 AM

U.S. lawmakers have a big agenda and many things they hope to accomplish before the end of 2017: tax reform, farm bill and disaster relief.

Another issue coming to the forefront is immigration, and there’s a fresh push for bipartisan immigration reform.

During a speech at the United Fresh Produce conference in Washington D.C., Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Az.) spoke about the issue and says hard working migrants need to be accounted for in immigration policy, including reforms to the H-2A guest worker program.

According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor, American farmers are turning more to the program to help fill their needs. So far in 2017, the department has issued more than 160,000 visas, an increase of 20 percent from 2016.

Georgia leads all other states with nearly 19,000 visas, while California has issued 12,000 visas.

Farmers and ag businesses complain the current H-2A program is cumbersome, slow, and doesn’t work in many livestock scenarios where labor is needed year round.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is planning to introduce the Agricultural Guestworker Act next week, which would replace the current H-2A program.

During the United Fresh conference, Goodlatte says the Act reduces red tape, includes greater access to guest workers without a pathway to citizenship, offers higher wages, has no requirement for worker housing and transportation, and allows currently illegal farmworkers to participate in the program.

Goodlatte is hoping to introduce the H-2C program in the committee and start a markup shortly after. The program would be run out of the USDA.

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Spell Check

Don Honda
Kansas City, KS
9/22/2017 01:02 PM Immigration raids yield jobs for legal workers 'When federal agents descended on six meatpacking plants owned by Swift & Co. in December 2006, they rounded up nearly 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants that made up about 10% of the labor force at the plants. But the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents did not cripple the company or the plants. In fact, they were back up and running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). "Whenever there's an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do those jobs that Americans will supposedly not do," said Swain, who teaches law and political science." Amid foreign worker shortage, Bar Harbor businesses turn to local labor

Don Honda
Kansas City, KS
9/22/2017 01:01 PM

  The U.S. currently has eleven non immigrant guest worker visa programs. There is no cap on the number of workers allowed into the U.S. under the H-2A temporary agricultural guest worker visa program. "The provision could more than triple the number of H-2B visas for foreign workers seeking jobs at hotels, theme parks, ski resorts, golf courses, landscaping businesses, restaurants and bars. The move is intended to boost the supply of non-agricultural seasonal workers." Alabama had to bite the bullet and hire LEGAL Immigrants for its AG Industry: Africans Relocate to Alabama to Fill Jobs After Immigration Law "East Coast began calling Atlanta refugee agencies several months ago looking for legal immigrants to come to Alabama for a year, said Mbanfu, refugee employment director for Lutheran Services in Atlanta. He said the company would have taken as many refugees as he could refer. The agency connected East Coast with refugees who had been in the country three to five years, he said."


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