Oct 3, 2017
New bill would create H-2C guest-worker program

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has unveiled a bill to create a new agricultural guest-worker program for farmers and ranchers.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte

The Agricultural Guestworker Act, or the AG Act, would replace the H-2A guest-worker program and will be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The AG Act creates a new H-2C guest-worker program designed to meet the needs of the agriculture industry, according to Congressman Goodlatte. Under the bill, the guest-worker program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and covers year-round employers, like dairies, aquaculture operations, food processors and others. Further, the AG Act allows experienced unauthorized agricultural workers to continue working in agriculture and provides more flexibility to American farmers with respect to housing, transportation and touchback periods.

For a full summary of the AG Act, click here and for bill text click here.

The Agriculture Workforce Coalition issued a statement in support of Goodlatte’s proposal.

”The Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) supports Chairman Goodlatte’s AG Act as part of our ongoing effort to work with him in achieving a solution that ensures a secure, legal workforce in agriculture today and in the future.  We call on all members of the Judiciary Committee to support and vote the AG Act out of Committee. We appreciate the Chairman’s invitation to continue the dialogue and look forward to working together beyond the committee process to further address agriculture’s labor crisis.

“We commend Chairman Goodlatte for the improvements made thus far to secure a balance between the need for a legal workforce in agriculture today and in the future, with the necessity of dealing with illegal immigration. As the process unfolds, we look forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats on this legislation, which will lead to enactment of a solution that ensures agriculture producers have access to a legal and stable workforce.”

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