House Republicans are trying again to enact ag worker reform legislation. The bill deals with the longstanding problem of illegal seasonal farm labor in the U.S. But, the effort may be going nowhere in the Senate.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s [GOOD-lat] Agricultural Workers Act would create a new non-immigrant worker visa program, aimed at providing a stable, legal and adequate labor force for much of U.S. agriculture.
“If we want to ensure America can continue to feed itself and much of the rest of the world, we must ensure a stable work supply for agriculture,” Goodlatte says.
Goodlatte called the existing program, “dysfunctional.”
Democrats did not dispute the problem, but argued in committee for hours, that Goodlatte’s bill would reduce the minimum wage paid seasonal farm workers, make them pay for their own healthcare, transportation, and other expenses, displace some U.S. workers with cheap foreign labor, and fail to address the larger U.S. immigration problem.
And even if the Ag Workers Act gets out of the House, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley concedes it may go nowhere in the Senate…tape
“It surely will get through the House I think beyond that it could be part of DACA but I don’t see it getting through the Senate unless it’s attached to some other immigration issue that’s got broad bipartisan support,” Grassley says.
President Trump has given Congress until March to find a ‘fix’ for the Obama DACA program that Trump’s disbanding.