E-Verify markup begins with proposed specialty ag program
By Stewart Doan
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
“We continue to insist that, as Congress moves forward with this legislation, it must incorporate a workable and efficient agricultural guest worker program.”
Smith counters that ag employers would be given three years to comply with the E-Verify requirement and the provisions do not apply to current, seasonal farm workers, only future employees.
He does acknowledge the need for a legal foreign labor supply in the specialty crop industry. Smith said that's why he introduced a separate measure known as the American Specialty Agricultural Act. It would provide up to 500,000 visas for legal ag workers.
It's unclear if Smith's backing for a new agriculture guest worker program will be enough to win over a sufficient number of Judiciary Committee Republicans to pass E-Verify given that Democrats remain united in their opposition to it.
The Legal Workforce Act “would impose crippling costs on small businesses, the engine of job creation in America, just when we need those businesses to create jobs the most,” argued Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California.
The markup will resume Wednesday.
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