America, The Rules And Regulations Around The H 2a Program

2376 WordsDec 12, 201410 Pages
America, the rules and regulations around the H-2A program, or lack thereof, have profound economic and social impact on the U.S. agricultural labor force as a whole. The H-2A program is an important non-immigration program. Even though some research suggests there is not a nationwide shortage of domestic farm labor, considerable evidence suggests that this research finding is distorted by the presence of illegal farm workers.3 Seasonal shortage in certain agricultural states pose a serious threat to the state’s economy and the farmers’ livelihood. According to a 2012 California Farm Bureau survey, 71 percent of tree-fruit growers and nearly 80 percent of raisin and berry growers could not find enough workers to prune trees or pick the crops.4 A look at the nation’s profile of farmers shows that the modern day U.S. is a country completely reliant on immigrant labor force. A 2009 National Agricultural Workers Survey found that 72 percent of all farm workers were foreign born. Sixty eight percent were born in Mexico; 35 percent report that they do not speak English at all.5 H-2A workers, though allowed into the country legally, suffer from the same abuses and exploitation as those who are unauthorized. AN INHERENTLY FLAWED SYSTEM Currently, the H-2A program is the only legal avenue for farm operators to hire seasonal farm workers from abroad, but the process is time-consuming and costly. First, they must demonstrate that they have attempted but failed to recruit Americans who

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