Immigration and Labor Resources

2017 Immigration Resources

Policy Updates and Strategies for the Field (2/15/17) . This webinar addresses immigration policy developments and immigration enforcement measures. The panel discusses immigrants' rights, with a focus on farmworkers and rural communities. The panel discusses immigrants' rights, with a focus on farmworkers and rural communities. The panel features speakers from Farmworker Justice, the United Farm Workers Foundation, and SPLC. Listen here.

Legislative Proposals 115th Congress

 ► Fact Sheet on the  “Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017,” H.R. 4092, reflecting the bill as revised during the House Judiciary Committee’s mark-up on October 24 & 25, 2017. The “Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017,” which was introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), would create the H-2C program, a new agricultural guestworker program that would strip away the limited protections currently found in the H-2A program.

► Farmworker Justice Analysis of the "Agricultural Guestworker Act". 

►New Fact sheet on Immigration Reform and Agriculture. This fact sheet provides an overview of the immigration reform needed for farmworkers and explains why reform to expand the H-2A program and remove its modest protections is the wrong approach.

►  Sign- On Letter Opposing Agricultural Guestworker Act and Changes to the H-2A Guestworker Program

► New Fact Sheet on “State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017,” S. 1040. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), with co-sponsor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), introduced the “State Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act of 2017,” S. 1040. The bill would allow individual states to create and sponsor temporary work visas in any occupation for foreign citizens. Read our fact sheet.

► New Fact Sheet on The Paperwork Reduction for Farmers Act -  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), with co-sponsor Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), introduced the “Paperwork Reduction for Farmers Act,” S. 1578. The bill would expand the H-2A program to include year-round jobs and lessen important labor protections, including recruitment requirements for U.S. workers.” Read our fact sheet.

► New Fact Sheet on the "Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), with 4 co-sponsors, introduced the “Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017.” The bill would establish an earned legalization program for undocumented farmworkers who have been consistently employed in U.S. agriculture and meet other requirements  Read our fact sheet.

 ►New Fact Sheet on H.R. 2690, the "Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017." Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), with 26 co-sponsors, introduced the “Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2017.” The bill is a companion to S. 1034, which was introduced earlier this month by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA). The bill would establish an earned legalization program for undocumented farmworkers who have been consistently employed in U.S. agriculture and meet other requirements.  Read our fact sheet Español

► New Fact Sheet on the DAIRY Act: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), introduced the “Defending the Agricultural Industry’s Requirements Year-round Act of 2017” (DAIRY Act), H.R. 2087. This House bill would significantly expand the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program by including year-round dairy farm jobs. The bill would allow employers to obtain H-2A workers on 18-month temporary work visas which employers could renew endlessly. Read our fact sheet.

► New Fact Sheet on the BARN Act: U.S. Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) has re-introduced the "Better Agricultural Resources Now Act", or BARN Act. This bill would amend the H-2A program to remove important government oversight and to slash labor protections that are need to protect U.S. workers and guestworkers. The proposed changes would deprive U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of job opportunities, lower farmworkers’ already poor wages, and enable exploitative conditions for hundreds of thousands of new guestworkers. The bill lacks the solution that is needed: an opportunity for our experienced farmworkers who lack authorized immigration status to earn a green card and citizenship and reforms to address worker abuses under the H-2A program. Read our fact sheet.

► New Fact Sheet on HR281: Representative Stefanik (R-NY) has re- introduced the so-called “Family Farm Relief Act of 2017,” HR 281, along with co-sponsor Rep. Collins (R-NY). The bill proposes to revise the H- 2A agricultural guestworker program in ways that would deprive U.S. citizens and permanent resident immigrants of job opportunities and allow exploitation of vulnerable foreign citizens who are hired on temporary work visas. Read our fact sheet.

Know Your Rights Materials/Immigration Enforcement

Policy Updates and Strategies for the Field (2/15/17)

This webinar addresses immigration policy developments and immigration enforcement measures. The panel discusses immigrants' rights, with a focus on farmworkers and rural communities. The panel discusses immigrants' rights, with a focus on farmworkers and rural communities. The panel features speakers from Farmworker Justice, the United Farm Workers Foundation, and SPLC. Listen here.

2015 Immigration Reform Resources

Resources Written by Farmworker Justice

► Read Farmworker Justice's overview on executive action "President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration: Positive Step for Hundreds of Thousands of Farmworkers and their Families

► Share Farmworker Justice's English outreach flyer "President Obama’s New Deferred Action Program: Important Information for Farmworkers"

► Share Farmworker Justice's Spanish outreach flyer "El nuevoprograma de acción diferida del Presidente Obama: Importante información para lostrabajadores agrícolas"

H-2A Program Resources

Farmworker Justice, the United Farm Workers and other organizations sent this letter on June 24, 2016 to the Department of the leadership of the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security to stress the need for stringent enforcement of H-2A program rules, given the extensive abuse in the H-2A program of both domestic farmworkes and H-2A guestworkers.

DOL’s Proposed H-2A Herder and Range Livestock Regulations: Welcome and Long Overdue, but Needing Improvements

Short Version of Comments on H-2A Herder and Range Livestock Regulations

Long Version of Comments on H-2A Herder and Range Livestock Regulations 

Resources Written by Farmworker Justice

The H-2A Temporary Agricultural Guestworker Program: An Inherently Flawed Program

No Way to Treat A Guest: Why the H-2A Agricultural Visa Program Fails U.S. and Foreign Workers

Weeding Out Abuses: Recommendations for a law- abiding farm labor system by Farmworker Justice and Oxfam America

► Bruce Goldstein Written Testimony April 2011 before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on: “The H-2A Visa Program: Meeting the Growing Needs of American Agriculture?"

► Bruce Goldstein Written Testimony Sept 2011 before Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Workforce Committee: Workforce Challenges Facing the Agriculture Industry

► Union Contracts with H-2A Employers:
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) has a contract with the North Carolina Growers Association, providing significant improvements in wages and working conditions for some 6,000 workers.

► Fact Sheet on the The Bush Administration’s Shameful Legacy for Farmworkers: Midnight Bush Administration H-2A Program Regulations.

H-2B Program Resources

Organizational letter in opposition to H-2B riders in the FY2016 appropriations bill

Picked Apart: The Hidden Struggles of Migrant Worker Women in the Maryland Crab Industry - American University's Washington College of Law and the Centro de losderechos del Migrante (Center for Migrant Rights) report on the lives of H-2B guestworkers in the Maryland crab industry. It is an excellent resource with lots of detailed information about housing conditions, common workplace injuries and sexual harassment. It also contains information on illegal recruitment fees the workers pay for the visa in their home countries.

Piñeros: Men of the Pines- The abuse and exploitation of H-2B forestry workers has been extensively documented by Tom Knudson and Hector Amezcua of the Sacramento Bee in a series of award winning articles documenting the life of H-2B forestry workers in the US.

Beneath the Pines - Written by The Southern Poverty Law Center's Immigrant Justice Project tells the stories of migrant pine tree workers.

► The Northwest Workers’ Justice Project and the Brennan Center for Justice filed a complaint under the labor side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeking access to justice for H-2B guestworkers. Read the history of that complaint here.

Legislative Proposals in the 112th – 114th Congress

Farmworker Justice has supported the historic AgJOBS farmworker immigration compromise for many years. While AgJOBS has not been introduced as stand-alone legislation in the 112th Congress, it is included within Senator Menendez’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, S. 1258. AgJOBS is in Part V, sections 150-159.
► Farmworker Justice Summary of AgJOBS

Additionally, Representative Berman introduced the Agricultural Labor Market Reform Act, H. R. 3017. H.R. 3017 would stabilize the farm labor force while removing incentives for agricultural employers to hire guestworkers over US workers. Farmworker Justice supports the Agricultural Labor Market Reform Act.

Harmful Agricultural Guestworker Proposals

House Reps. Lungren (R-Cal.), Smith (R-Tex.), and Kingston (R-Ga.) and Senator Chambliss (R-Ga.) have each proposed agricultural guestworker legislation as the “solution” for agriculture’s labor force. These proposals would reduce or eliminate critical worker protections and government oversight from the current H-2A agricultural guestworker program or create an entirely new guestworker program with minimal protections or oversight. There are also several proposals to expand the H-2A agricultural guestworker program to year-round jobs in dairy without addressing the current experienced dairy workers or improving farmworker wages and working conditions.

Farmworker Justice strongly opposes these guestworker proposals and continues to seek meaningful reform that protects US workers and provides undocumented farmworkers an opportunity to earn legal immigration status. Farmworker Justice is working to educate Congress and the public about the fundamentally flawed nature of the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. For more information about the inherently abusive H-2A program, please read our report, No Way to Treat a Guest.

Farmworker Justice Fact Sheets and Texts of Bills

► Rep. Lungren (R-Cal.),Agricultural Workforce Act, H.R. 2895

► Rep. Smith (R-Tex.), American Specialty Agriculture Act, H.R. 2847.

► Rep. Kingston (R-Ga.), BARN Act, H.R. 3443.

► Senator Chambliss (R-Ga.), HARVEST Act, S. 1384.

The H-2A Guestworker Program: Not a Proper Solution for Dairy

Senator Leahy and Senators Schumer and Lee have introduced guestworker bills, the H-2A Improvement Act, S. 852, and the DASH Act, S. 1697, respectively, that would expand the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program to include jobs at year-round dairy operations. Congress should not expand the H-2A program, which provides temporary work visas for seasonal jobs, to full-year jobs at dairies.

Farmworker Justice Fact Sheet on H-2A and Dairy Proposals

Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein’s Congressional Testimony on the H-2A program, harmful guestworker proposals, and the need for sensible immigration reform:
►  Written Testimony April 2011 before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on: “The H-2A Visa Program: Meeting the Growing Needs of American Agriculture?"
Written Testimony Sept 2011 before Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Education and Workforce Committee: Workforce Challenges Facing the Agriculture Industry

2013 Immigration Reform Resources

Farmworker Justice has created this flyer about immigration reform as a tool for outreach workers and other advocates to handout to farmworkers. The flyer explains to farmworkers the general requirements contained in the blue card program contained in the Senate passed immigration reform bill, S.744. The flyer warns that the bill is not yet law so farmworkers should avoid unscrupulous notarios and others seeking to defraud farmworkers. The flyer also advises farmworkers to save certain types of paperwork in the event that immigration reform passes.

Farmworker Justice Immigration Reform Flyer (English)

Información Importante sobre la Inmigración para Trabajadores Agrícolas de parte de Justicia Campesina

► Talking points on immigration reform for farmworkers that can be used in meetings with Congressional staff are available here.

SENATE

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S.744: On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, by a bipartisan vote of 68-32. The bill’s passage brings us one step closer to fixing our broken immigration policy and modernizing agricultural labor relations. Farmworker Justice’s statement on the bill’s passage is available here.

► Read Farmworker Justice's summary of the agriculture immigration stakeholder agreement in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013

HOUSE

The Agricultural Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773, Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA)
On June 19th, the House Judiciary Committee passed Chairman Bob Goodlatte's Agricultural Guestworker Act, HR 1773, by a vote of 20-16 along party lines. Rep. Goodlatte’s “Ag Act” is a one-sided and harsh bill that stands in stark contrast to the balanced stakeholder agreement. The bill would create a massive new agricultural guestworker program, which would deprive U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of job opportunities, lower farmworkers’ already poor wages, and allow exploitative conditions for hundreds of thousands of new guestworkers. Significantly, Goodlatte’s bill fails to address our broken immigration system and does not offer an opportunity for the current experienced farmworkers who lack authorized immigration status to earn a roadmap to citizenship.

Farmworker Justice’s Fact Sheet
Farmworker Justice's Talking Points on H.R. 1733

► Farmworker Justice's Additional Talking Points on the Treatment of Undocumented Workers in H.R. 1773

Rep. Ross (R-FL), Legal Agricultural Workforce Act, H.R. 242
On January 14, 2013, Rep. Ross introduced the Legal Agricultural Workforce Act, HR 242, which would devastate America’s farmworkers and endanger our nation’s food system. Rep. Ross proposes a massive new guestworker program with no meaningful labor protections. Rep. Ross ignores the lessons of history by eliminating virtually all of the labor protections that have been recognized for decades as necessary to prevent displacement of U.S. workers, depression of U.S. workers’ wage rates, and exploitation of foreign citizens.

Farmworker Justice Fact Sheet

Selected Farmworker Statistics Based on NAWS

There are remarkably few data sets about the demographic and economic characteristics of farmworkers – people hired to labor on farms and ranches in the United States. Among the few studies that do exist, many have significant shortcomings. One of the better sources for over 20 years has been the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A random sample of farmworkers is interviewed regarding their families, their jobs, immigration status, and health. There are additional categories that vary between surveys. In the past, the DOL published several helpful reports based on the NAWS data. Unfortunately, DOL has not published a report in many years and until recently it even stopped releasing the data to the public. Farmworker Justice requested and obtained DOL’s release of the public data from the 2011-2012 surveys. The raw data is available at http://www.doleta.gov/agworker/naws.cfm.

Our staff examined the survey data to provide a basic economic and demographic portrait of farmworkers, including data related to some of the specific policy issues in which we work. We have not conducted a complete analysis of all the data. This memorandum summarizes some of the major findings drawn from the NAWS to help inform the public, policymakers, and organizations that serve farmworkers.

Farmworker Justice's Selected Analysis of 2011-2012 National Agricultural Workers Survey Memo

Farmworkers' Health Fact Sheet: Data from National Agricultural Workers Survey

Migration Policy Institute Briefing on Farm Labor Highlights Recent Data Trends (September 2015 Blog)