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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In the Nation

The Proposed H-2C Guest Worker Program May Get a Vote in the Congress

Friday, June 15, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The proposed new H-2C program legislation for agricultural guest workers is scheduled for a vote the week of June 18 in the House of Representatives. The new program was put together by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R- VA), chair of the House judiciary Committee.

Goodlatte’s H-2C language was put into a larger bill that seeks to deal with border security, family immigration rules and a fix for the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) problem. This bill is supported by the more conservative members of the Republican conference.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has promised a vote on the H-2C bill as part of a compromise to avoid a showdown with a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats who were advocating another DACA bill. This coalition was pushing a “discharge petition” which would have forced a vote on their DACA bill, an embarrassment to Ryan and House leadership.

Ryan promised a vote on both bills the week June 18 to stop the discharge petition effort, which was two signatures from becoming reality. Neither bill is expected to pass and are being seen as “show votes” to give House members something on which to campaign this fall.

PLNA and AmericanHort continue to have concerns with the new H-2C program. We fear that if the bill passes, the H-2A program would go away immediately and be replaced by an untested H-2C program that could significantly disrupt the agricultural guest worker workforce. There remain many questions about how the transition would be managed.

In the meantime, four Cabinet secretaries – Perdue (Agriculture), Acosta (Labor), Nielsen (Homeland Security) and Pompeo (State) – have begun an effort to streamline the existing H-2A program. The results of this effort are planned to be in place for the 2020 growing season.

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