ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily


Chinese Immig. Daily




The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

View RSS Feed

Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Lamar Smith is a bit of an enigma this session of Congress. He's pushing the usual tough enforcement bills. But he's also shown a willingness to move legal immigration bills like the H-1C nurse visa extension and now a bill to reform the the H-2A visa category, one that is badly broken and almost useless to America's farmers. The system is so complicated and the rules are so onerous that it is almost completely unused despte well documented shortages of farm workers around the country. Anti-immigrants accuse farmers of simply wanting to evade the law and hire cheap labor. But this is a game of survival for our farmers and unless we want to be in the same situation we're in with energy and be totally dependent on other countries to feed us, we need to deal with this reality.


Lamar Smith has introduced HR 2847, a new agricultural worker program that will be called the H-2C and will replace the H-2A program. Hearings were held last week on the bill. One of the most important aspects of the bill is removing the anti-immigration Department of Labor from managing the program and replacing it with the US Department of Agriculture.


Capital Press describes the bill's major provisions:



H-2C would allow 500,000 visas per year and ease wage, housing and transportation requirements. An H-2A rule requiring growers provide employment to U.S. workers who apply until 50 percent of H-2A workers' contract period has elapsed would be eliminated. Workers would not be allowed to bring their families with them to the U.S.


Smith does not want to amend the H-2C onto his E-Verify bill for political and parliamentarian reasons, but the two bills need to pass simultaneously, Sequeira said.


H-2C would allow workers into the U.S. for 10 months and then require them to go back to Mexico for two months before being allowed back into the U.S. for another 10 months.



Labor groups have already come out against the bill over the wage and housing revisions. And farmers' groups, while generally supportive, are working to change provisions such as expanding the ten month limit to a twelve months per year system. 


Smith is likely to try and move his E-Verify mandate bill in lockstep with the H-2C agricultural worker bill. Both will have a tough time passing in the Senate.

Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to Facebook Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to Twitter Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to Google Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to StumbleUpon Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to Reddit Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to Digg Submit "Smith Bill Would Reform Agricultural Worker Program" to del.icio.us

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags

Comments

  1. George Chell's Avatar
    Low wages in this country is due to racial discrimination, not due to immigration or guest worker programs!
  2. Nurse Waiting's Avatar
    Greg any post coming on guidelines for enterpreneurs under new provisions by USCIS? Would really appreciate it.
  3. Nurse Waiting's Avatar
    I meant guidelines for filing GC under new ruling released by USCIS on Aug 2.
  4. DC's Avatar
    "One of the most important aspects of the bill is removing the anti-immigration Department of Labor from managing the program and replacing it with the US Department of Agriculture."

    - Sir: Please explain, and offer evidence for this claim. Seems like an unfair blanket statement to me.

    The DOL has numerous programs and initiatives that seek to protect the labor and employment rights of both immigrant and undocumented migrant workers, not just those of US workers. For example, see: http://www.wtam.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104707&article=9056060
    In addition, the DOL does not advocate one way or the other for higher or lower levels of immigration or nonimmigrant visas.

    What does the Dept. of Ag know about guestworkers, employment-based migration and the regulation of the labor market in order to protect workers against adverse affects on wages and working conditions? Very little, if anything, I would venture to guess. That's why employers prefer to have the Dept of Ag run this program, because they know the Ag Dept will be ill-equipped to ensure that all farm workers are not exploited, underpaid and discriminated against.
  5. Jack's Avatar
    National Immigration Law Center weighs in:

    "...the American Specialty Agriculture Act would bring in 500,000 new guest workers a year, strip agricultural workers of basic labor rights, and do absolutely nothing to help the American worker."

    http://www.nilc.org/pubs/news-releases/nr098.htm


    More from New York Times:

    The bill drew divided reaction from growers' organizations. Groups from North and South Carolina and Georgia, particularly those representing farmers who have tried to work with the H-2A program, liked the proposal.

    Many major farm organizations, including the California Farm Bureau Federation, said Mr. Smith's program failed to meet their needs.

    ----

    Many farm bureaus, however, are throwing their support behind a competing proposal by another Republican, Representative Dan Lungren of California. In an interview, Mr. Lungren said he would introduce his bill in the House next week. He said his talks with California growers had "proved to me you can't get where we need to by reforming the H-2A program."

    Under his program, foreign migrant workers would not be tied to specific farmers as they are under Mr. Smith's plan, but they would be issued work documents allowing them to come to the United States for 10 months a year to work for any agricultural employer.

    With no provisions to legalize illegal immigrants, both proposals, which are rejected by farm worker groups, are expected to face strong opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/us/09farm.html


    //////////


    "That's why employers prefer to have the Dept of Ag run this program, because they know the Ag Dept will be ill-equipped to ensure that all farm workers are not exploited, underpaid and discriminated against." -- DC

    Ill-equipped or simply corrupt?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/13/us-food-safety-study-idUSTRE68C39320100913


  6. US Visa Extension's Avatar
    United States Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is against any bill that will include a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants, stating that "Any form of amnesty will only encourage more illegal immigration." His colleague, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) concurred and he too believes that any form of legislation that discusses or hints of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is "... not going to pass." Lungren and Smith though do believe that a bill that would require all employers to use the government's employee verification program, E-Verify, and would include the improvement of the guest worker program, could have a promising future.
Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: