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Farm labor group likes Goodlatte proposal with possible change

A farm labor group would like to see changes to a guest worker labor bill that’s about to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Frank Gasperini with the National Council of Agricultural Employers tells Brownfield they’ve worked with Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s team for years to replace the failed H-2A program, but he’s concerned about some of the language in Goodlatte’s Agricultural Guestworkers Act, or AG Act.  “We are looking at replacing ultimately a million-and-a-half or two-million workers with a guest worker program that currently is proposed to be capped at about a half-a-million.  That half-million might work, depending on how the wording is.”

Gasperini would like to see comprehensive immigration law changes but says that appears unlikely in this Congress.  “So, we are working on an ag fix, so that our farmers, our growers, our ranchers and dairy herdsmen can stay in business.  If we introduce mandatory e-verify without specific ag labor fixes, a lot of folk’s businesses just won’t survive it.”

Gasperini says the Goodlatte was scheduled to introduce the bill today, but that’s unlikely as Congress focuses on hurricane relief.  House Judiciary Committee Senior Counsel Stephanie Gadbois tells Brownfield the Goodlatte bill might be introduced next week.

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