Trump Department of Labor Proposes Harmful Changes to H-2A Agricultural Guestworker Program

Today (July 26) the Trump Department of Labor announced plans to make sweeping revisions to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program to the detriment of farmworkers. The proposed H-2A changes would weaken key protections for farmworkers, reducing the ability of the current farm labor force to obtain employment with H-2A employers and exposing H-2A workers to greater vulnerability and costs. 

The Trump Administration seeks to guarantee agribusiness unlimited access to a captive workforce—guestworkers who are denied the rights and freedoms of immigrants and citizens. The proposal epitomizes the Trump Administration’s hostility to immigrants.  At the same time that the Administration takes steps to transform the farm labor force of roughly 2.4 million people into a workforce of 21st-century indentured servants, it is demonizing hard-working immigrants and ratcheting up cruel and counterproductive arrests and deportations, targeting many of our nation’s current experienced and valued farmworkers. Instead of further expanding and weakening worker protections in the H-2A  guestworker program, the Administration should strengthen labor protections, improve enforcement of farmworkers’ limited labor rights, and support legislation such as the Agricultural Worker Program Act, which would grant undocumented farmworkers and their family members the opportunity for immigration status and a path to citizenship.

You can find a summary of the proposed changes in the "Resources - Guestworker Programs - H-2A" section of our website. We will be sharing model comments that we are working to develop with the UFW, UFWF and other partners.  We encourage you to submit comments to ensure that the voices of farmworkers and allies are heard on the harm these H-2A proposed rules would cause.  The deadline for comments is September 24, 2019.