Fresno, California – Datatech has learned that the House will hold off on an immigration vote according to Tom Nassiff of the Western Growers Association. Congress had been aiming at a vote this month for the Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 4760). The proposal sponsored by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), seeks to update the H-2A agricultural worker visa program with a new H-2C guestworker visa program and increase the number of agricultural workers nationwide.
Analysts say that the ‘Ag Act’ as it’s known and the Farm Bill has been going through Congress at the same time and factions within the Republican Party has been going back and forth using these proposals as bargining chips to futher more conservative demands on immigration. Datatech has reported on this struggle between the Ag community and Congress for months now. You can see our previous story here.
Nassif tells Datatech, “We have been informed that the U.S. House of Representatives will NOT vote on the legislation next week that would impose mandatory E-Verify with no fix for our existing workers. Furthermore, our allies believe this legislation will likely not be voted before the August recess at all, due to our resolve.”
In a previous Datatech article, Nassif had made this comment about E-Verify, “Changes to H-2A should be made to improve the system for the use of all, and any implication that necessary reforms would be limited to those that use E-Verify is concerning.”
So with the vote on immigration being put on hold, it would seem that further negotiations on the E-Verify topic will need to be hammered out. In the meantime, the Trump Administration has committed to ‘modernizing the H-2A program’ for all stakeholders. Many in the Ag industry are anxious to see what Congress will do with immigration and the guest worker program. The controversy has dragged on for years now. Nassif says his team will stay vigilant and work for a solution that benefits all in the Ag industry. Stay tuned.