House Republicans Trying Again to Enact Ag Worker Reform Legislation

Dan Industry News Release, Labor and Immigration, Legislative

houseHouse Republicans are trying again to enact ag worker reform legislation to deal with the longstanding problem of illegal seasonal farm labor in the U.S. But, the effort may be going nowhere in the Senate.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s [GOOD-lat] Agricultural Workers Act would create a new non-immigrant worker visa program, aimed at providing a stable, legal and adequate labor force for much of U.S. agriculture.

Goodlatte called the existing program, “dysfunctional.”

Democrats did not dispute the problem, but argued in committee for hours, that Goodlatte’s bill would reduce the minimum wage paid seasonal farm workers, make them pay for their own healthcare, transportation, and other expenses, displace some U.S. workers with cheap foreign labor, and fail to address the larger U.S. immigration problem.

And even if the Ag Workers Act gets out of the House, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley concedes it may go nowhere in the Senate.

President Trump has given Congress until March to find a ‘fix’ for the Obama DACA program that Trump’s disbanding. Some 700,000 so-called Dreamers, minors who entered or stayed in the US illegally, received renewable two-year deferments from deportation and eligibility for work permits.