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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

BUSH ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO EASE H-2A VISA RULES FOR FARMWORKERS

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This is welcome news. We do technically have a guest worker program in this country for agricultural workers, but the program is so complicated and bloated that it is largely ignored. It sounds like the Administration is realizing that while they can score political points by making Congress "feel the pain" of failing to provide for legalization for the estimated 70% of the agricultural work force that is undocumented, their may be know agricultural sector left by the time Congress gets the message.



I know some of you are going to say that we need to deal with other industries first, but as far as which one is at the greatest risk right this minute, it has to be agriculture. Entire harvests in a number of sectors could be lost if the White House doesn't act quickly. And that could effectively be the end of farming in America as one farm after another went under.

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Comments

  1. Another voice's Avatar
    Hopefully the big Agro-Business corporations can step up the preassure for larger reform but this is a good start.
  2. Calouste's Avatar
    From the NYT article:

    "The National Council of Agricultural Employers has written to the administration to urge changes like speeding up the H-2A application process, easing housing requirements for guest workers, reducing the required wage for these workers and increasing the types of work they are allowed to do -- poultry processing might be included, for instance. Grower groups have also urged the administration to ease requirements that they run newspaper advertisements to determine whether American workers want the jobs."

    Now I agree with points 1, 4 and 5 (speeding up the processing, allowing more kinds of work & ease requirements for advertising), but I utterly fail to see how points 2 and 3 (crappier housing and lower wages) can be costrued as anything but greed on the side of the farmers. I will agree with them if red tape prevents them from hiring the people they need, but if they just can't afford (or are not willing) to give them a decent wage and decent living conditions, then either they have to push their customers (the supermarkets and the food industry) for higher prices or go out of business.
  3. grouchy's Avatar
    Hopefully they will take this important steps seriously this time so that everybody would continuously enjoy cheap prices of the basic commodities from the farm.
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