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Perdue Plugs Ag Worker Visa Bill

Legislation would expand existing program to include both seasonal, year-round laborers

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants Congress to pass an immigration bill overhauling the H-2A agricultural guest-worker program, even though major agriculture groups in the West oppose the measure, the USDA chief said Monday at a gathering of state ag officials.

Politico reports the legislation would change the existing program (and rebrand it as H-2C) by expanding it to include both seasonal and year-round labor needs.

The Western Growers Association and California Farm Bureau oppose the measure, and several Golden State Republicans are wary because it includes an “E-Verify” provision that would require employers to verify the legal status of their workers — potentially hampering their ability to find enough labor.

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