Fresno, California – The H-2A visa program has been called ‘broken’ by congressional lawmakers. There is hope for farm labor with recent changes to the Ag Act traversing Capital Hill which outlines the new so called ‘H-2C’ visa guest worker program. But Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif says his organization still can’t support the legislation until further changes are made. Datatech has been following the slow progression of this legislation.
Nassif has said from the beginning of this six months long legislative process on the Ag Act (HR 4092), authored by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, that his organization would need certain language to be rewritten if they were to support the Ag Act, Nassif says recent changes to the legislation are not enough to satisfy members, “You might of seen a document recently circulated by the House Judiciary staff detailing how the Goodlatte immigration bill has been modified to address the concerns of the agriculture industry. However, while these changes do represent modest improvements, the legislation still fails to address the most critical concerns of our membership, in particular as they relate to our current workforce, cap on visas, length of ‘touch-back’ and at-will employment.”
Western Growers Association has put together a document outlining what concerns WGA has with the current re-write of the Ag Act. Nassif says, “These issues must be adequately resolved before we can support the legislation.” You can view the document here.
Immigration remains a hot topic on Capital Hill with legislators trying to agree on what do to with DACA and the latest Securing America’s Future Act(HR 4760) proposal and with a need for a workable guest worker program to support the growing farm labor issues in America. There seems to have been some progress for agriculture according to Nassif, but he says the H-2C program, “Continues to lack provisions for an effective, stable transition in which we can be confident the current workforce will participate.” WGA feels the cap on visas at 450,000 is a deal breaker, as well. Says Nassif, “A significantly higher baseline cap would greatly reduce, potentially even eliminate, the concerns over an adequate workforce.”
So the talking continues and time will tell whether compromises can be worked out.
Datatech has served the Ag industry since 1980 with time saving accounting, payroll, HR and farm management software.