From Farmworker Justice this morning:
Speaker Paul Ryan has committed to a July vote in the House on agricultural guestworker legislation, as reported by the Seattle Times and by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), whose family owns a large farming operation.
The proposal will be based on Rep. Goodlatte’s anti-worker, anti-immigrant, anti-family Agricultural Guestworker Act (AGA). Goodlatte and Newhouse included the AGA within Goodlatte’s larger Securing America’s Future Act, which failed in the House last week (so badly that almost half of Republican Congressmen voted against it).
Goodlatte’s cruel AGA, if passed, would accomplish two horrific results. For more details, see our summary.
First, this bill would basically convert the farm labor force of 2.4 million into guestworkers on new H-2C temporary work visas. Growers could bring in hundreds of thousands of H-2C guestworkers with no right to immigration status. Goodlatte’s bill would separate families –- spouses and children would have to remain in their homeland while the H-2C guestworker labors in the US for months or years. Current undocumented farmworkers would have an illusory right to return to their homelands and seek an H-2C visa, but not their spouses and children currently in the US, who would still be subject to deportation.
Second, the H-2C program would replace the H-2A agricultural guestworker program and minimize recruitment of U.S. farmworkers; slash the modest wage and other labor protections; deny meaningful access to the judiciary; and minimize government oversight.
I described the Goodlatte bill here.