The Ag and Legal Workforce Act, a measure to replace the old H-2A ag guestworker program, has been introduced by House Ag Chair Mike Conaway, R-TX, ranking House Ag Comm. member, Collin Peterson, D-MN, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-VA.
The bill would create a new H-2C program that could provide 450,000 H-2C visas annually for foreign farm workers, including those who are now in the country illegally. The measure also would require all employers to start using the E-Verify to ensure the legal status of their hires.
According to the House Judiciary Committee’s news release about the bill, the H-2C program is available to both seasonal and year-round agricultural employers, provides much-needed flexibility to minimize disruptions in farm operations, eliminates regulatory burdens, and contains effective accountability and enforcement provisions.
Other sponsors of the proposal are Reps. Lamar Smith, R-TX, Henry Cuellar, D-TX, Dan Newhouse, (R-WA.), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Mark Walker (R-N.C.), and John Katko (R-N.Y.).