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Agricultural groups seek reform of temporary guest worker program

For much of the nation conversations regarding immigration focus on the treatment of children who have entered the country unaccompanied and without proper documentation. For others, such as members of Florida’s agricultural industry however, the conversation is a little closer to home. Their concerns revolve around adequate staffing of the fields and orchards that supply the nation with produce. These employers rely upon seasonal labor provided by individuals from other countries who are in the United States on an H-2A visa which is available under the temporary guest work program.

Employers in Florida’s agricultural industry recently requested that Congress address the program in the course of immigration reform. There are several things they would specifically like changed. The first is the expenses associated with the program. Next, they would like the program to be streamlined so that it is not so cumbersome. In addition, they would like the cap to be raised. Currently, only 66,000 agricultural worker visas are granted throughout the nation each year.

Two organizations joined together in the plea: Florida Farm Bureau and Florida Citrus Mutual.

Those pushing for reforming the program believe that the reforms would result in a larger work force and that in turn, that bigger work force would result in bigger yields and therefore larger profits.

Many businesses throughout the state of Florida rely upon foreign workers to succeed. Accordingly, it is important that business owners do what is necessary to secure these workers. For the best result in situations where foreign workers are involved, this usually includes consulting an immigration lawyer.

Source: Latin Post, “Florida's Farm Industry Asks Congress for Immigration Reform, Wants More Visas for Day Laborers,” Scharon Harding, July 3, 2014

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