Farm Lobby Pushes Amnesty for Low Skilled Visa Over-stays

California plow (David McNew / Getty)
David McNew / Getty
JOHN BINDER
Raleigh, NC

Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the farm lobby has demanded access to cheaper, foreign workers through the H-2A visa program.

The lobby is looking to push a new initiative: amnesty for low-skilled farm workers who overstayed their H-2A visas.

In a report by the Norwalk Reflector, the farming lobby in North Carolina, one of the largest farming states in the U.S., revealed their plans to not only request looser H-2A visa laws, but also a path to legal status for illegal immigrants who are farm workers:

In February, Larry Wooten, president of the N.C. Farm Bureau, and a group of farmers met with Tillis, Sen. Richard Burr, Rep. George Holding, Rep. David Rouzer, Rep. Ted Budd and Rep. Mark Meadows, all Republicans, to discuss immigration reform, simplifying the H-2A program and determining an avenue to legal status for undocumented farm workers.

Wooten describes immigration reform as a “three-legged stool”: the first leg represents border security to ensure “we know who’s in the country” and the second leg involves developing an H-2A program that supplies dependable labor year-round.

“The third leg is where the wheel runs off and the divergence starts: What do you do with illegal immigrants?” Wooten said. “It’s a tremendous cost to the economy because this immigration issue is not resolved.”

Every year, a limitless number of low-skilled foreign nationals are allowed to enter the U.S. on the H-2A visa.

Thus far, the American Farm Bureau Federation, which demands that American farming jobs continue to be outsourced to foreign workers, has been able to have more than just Trump’s ear on the issue.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said most recently that Trump promised to keep the H-2A foreign guest worker visa program, as Breitbart Texas reported.

“He assured us we would have plenty of access to workers,” Duvall said.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has also been able to penetrate the Trump administration, with a former pro-outsourcing lobbyist for the organization landing a top job in Trump’s Agriculture Department, as Breitbart Texas reported.

Kristi Boswell serves as the Senior Advisor to Agriculture Secretary-nominee Sonny Perdue, working primarily on immigration and labor issues. Boswell’s appointment to work on immigration and labor issues for the Agriculture Department put immigration patriots like David North from the Center for Immigration Studies on defense.

“Her appointment is bad news for anyone wanting to contain the growth of the H-2A (foreign farm worker) program, which was loosely enough administered by Obama’s Department of Labor,” North wrote at the time. “There were 283,500 admissions (though there is some double counting) of H-2A workers in 2015, the last year for which we have data.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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