Immigration Reform: Agricultural Workers (Part Two)

Posted by Matthew Green | Jan 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

As part of my ongoing series on the immigration reform bill, I will be focusing this entry on sections 2231-2233. These sections refer to a program for agricultural workers who are to be classified as nonimmigrant visitors.

The immigration reform bill, currently known as S. 744, was first introduced in April 2013. It was successfully passed in the Senate, but has stalled in the House. In order for a bill to become law, the proposed legislation must be passed by both chambers.

In my last post, I wrote about the issuance of “blue cards” to immigrant agricultural workers and how the program would likely aid both agriculture and the nation's economy. While I touched on the existing visa process in that piece, this entry will take a more detailed look at the proposed reform.

Keep in mind that these sections discuss a nonimmigrant visa plan for agricultural workers. This means that the alien will only be in the U.S. for a temporary period. In addition, section 2231 of S. 744 states that the alien must be coming to perform services or labor in agricultural employment. The alien must have a written contract that includes specific wages, benefits and working conditions of the full-time employment. The contract must designate a specific agricultural employer as well as the time period that the worker will remain in the U.S.

Section 2232 generally amends the definition of agricultural employment to correspond to the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. It also adds a requirement of consultation with the Secretary of Labor regarding an adjustment of the agricultural worker cap. This section goes on to clarify that the renewal of a 3-year term for an agricultural worker is available. Further clarification is provided relating to the allotted amount of time the Secretary of Agriculture has to make a decision on petitions to increase worker numbers.

Section 2232 refers to important definitions of terms included in the reform bill and those can be accessed here. Defined terms include agricultural employment, blue card, and contract agricultural worker. This section also speaks to eligibility, term of stay, and loss of status.

For instance, S. 744 states that general eligibility for a nonimmigrant agricultural worker will be prohibited if the alien:

  1. Violated a material term or condition or a previous admission as a nonimmigrant agricultural worker during the most recent 3-year period;
  2. Has not obtained successful clearance of any security and background checks required by the Secretary of Homeland Security or any other examination required under this Act; or
  3. Departed from the U.S. while subject to an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal, or pursuant to an order of voluntary departure; and
  4. Is outside of the U.S.; or
  5. Has reentered the U.S. illegally after December 31, 2012, without receiving consent to the alien's reapplication under section 212(a)(9).

The next section, section 2233, deals with the specifics of the transition of the current H-2A worker program. Generally, the section clarifies that a current H-2A worker is allowed to stay and be employed for the shorter of 10 months or the time specified in the job position.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew H. Green have many years of experience. We have the skills and background necessary to help you through your criminal and immigration matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Matthew Green

Managing Attorney. The Law Offices of Matthew H. Green focuses on the aggressive defense of immigrants. A native of Arizona, Mr. Green understands the difficulties that immigrants and families of immigrants face when a loved one is charged with a crime. He knows how frightening it can be for some...

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