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Divided Congress to see bipartisan H-2A reform bill

Wednesday, October 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Beth Farmer
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A new agricultural labor reform bill is being prepared for the U.S. House of Representatives this fall, according to a notice from Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of public policy and government relations at AmericanHort.

The three-part legislation aims to stabilize the current agricultural workforce by transitioning experienced unauthorized workers into legally-present status, streamlining the H-2A program, and adjusting the E-verify (electronic verification of employment eligibility) program timeline. During a speech at the annual Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association convention four weeks ago, Regelbrugge recapped that agricultural employers are losing labor through attrition and enforcement actions and the industry needs regulatory changes.

The bipartisan group of legislators behind the bill understands that some reform goals are not being met through negotiation processes, but they believe it merits advancement to the House. Key players in the negotiations include Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-California), Jimmy Panetta (D-California), Dan Newhouse (R-Washington), Mike Simpson (R-Indiana), and Mario Rafael Caballero Díaz-Balart (R-Florida), according to a report by The Packer (Lenexa, Kansas).

The OAN is active on the national level working with congress to develop a visa system that works, provides adequate labor supply that is tied to economic conditions and funding a path to adjust the status of any undocumented worker. » Read more