Rep. Goodlatte’s “Agricultural Guestworker Act” Would Condemn Agricultural Workers to Exploitative Working Conditions

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On October 25, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee passed Chairman Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) “Agricultural Guestworker Act,” HR 4092, by a vote of 17-16. The bill would create an extremely abusive new guestworker program, converting an entire industry, from the farms and ranches to the packing houses and processing plants, from lettuce and grapes to dairy cows and poultry, into a labor force of exploitable temporary guestworkers with virtually no workplace protections and with no opportunity to join the communities they are helping to feed.  

The bill fails to provide any opportunity for our nation’s many skilled undocumented agricultural workers to put themselves on a path to citizenship. Moreover, the terms of the new agricultural guestworker program would deprive hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of job opportunities, lower farmworkers’ already poor wages, and allow exploitative conditions for hundreds of thousands of guestworkers. Despite widespread recognition of the need for immigration reform legislation that would stabilize our agricultural labor system through a path to immigration status and citizenship, Rep. Goodlatte instead seeks to create even more unfairness and dysfunction in our immigration system.

Rep. Goodlatte’s bill would replace the H-2A agricultural guestworker program with a new guestworker program (the H-2C program) and eliminate many long-standing worker protections. His one-sided bill would allow exploitation of foreign citizens of poor countries and cause job loss and lower wages for U.S. workers.

To read the full press release click here

 

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