The Agricultural Workforce Coalition (AWC), a bunch of farming and agricultural organizations, despatched a letter to Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pressuring them to go laws addressing alien farmworkers. Many of the letter bemoans the H-2A agricultural guestworker program, and particularly asks the Senate to “go laws to totally deal with the wants of American farmers by stabilizing the present workforce, addressing huge prices to make use of the H-2A program, and enabling year-round producers to entry the H-2A program.”
The H-2A program is an uncapped guestworker program that permits farmers to rent seasonal guestworkers. Analysis utilizing Division of Labor certification information reveals that H-2A employees routinely earn lower than nationwide averages of their respective labor classes.
In different phrases, not solely is the H-2A program uncapped,
nevertheless it additionally brings in employees on a budget.
That association doesn’t fulfill the member
organizations, firms, and companies that comprise the AWC. Their chief
concern is that the H-2A program is seasonal, quite than year-round. That’s
actually a good concern, however one which the federal government can deal with with tweaks
to the prevailing H-2A program, quite than creating new classes or passing
farmworker amnesty laws.
In fact, the AWC doesn’t see it that manner. They need the Senate to take up consideration of H.R. 1603, the (mockingly named) Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which the Home of Representatives handed in March by a vote of 247-174. Within the AWC letter’s press launch, Western Growers’ president and CEO Dave Puglia remarked that:
The Senate can finish the labor disaster on America’s farms. Our farmers
can not afford one other yr of inaction. The Home handed the Farm Workforce
Modernization Act earlier this yr, fastidiously negotiated bipartisan laws
that would supply stability to the prevailing farm workforce and a enormously
improved and predictable visitor employee program.
FAIR opposed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in each the final and present Congress. H.R. 1603 creates a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of unlawful alien farmworkers, creates a brand new program giving “Licensed Agricultural Employee” standing to unlawful aliens, and encourages additional unlawful immigration.
The invoice would solidify a whole trade’s reliance on low-cost international labor, and the requirement that farmworkers proceed working in agriculture earlier than qualifying for inexperienced playing cards basically forces unlawful aliens into indentured servitude. Nothing within the invoice “modernizes” the agricultural workforce. Precise modernization would come with labor-reducing automation and choosing know-how, which is already used all through different sectors of agriculture and in nations internationally.
The AWC effort is just an try to
stress the Senate into passing this farmworker amnesty invoice. The H-2A program
isn’t excellent, nevertheless it works and hundreds of farmers throughout the nation use it
to fill their workforce wants. The Senate ought to refuse to take up this
sweeping amnesty laws and as an alternative deal with narrowly-tailored fixes to the
H-2A program because it at present exists.