The Senate is set to OK President Joe Biden’s nominees for Interior secretary and U.S. Trade Representative this week, while the House looks to jump-start a congressional debate over immigration reform and farm labor.
The Adverse Effect Wage Rate that farmers are required to pay H-2A workers is rising by an average of 4.5% nationally to $14.62 per hour this year, with some western and Plains states seeing significantly higher increases.
The Senate begins its impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump this week even as his successor pushes lawmakers to meet his demands for a $1.9 trillion package of coronavirus relief measures.
President-elect Joe Biden will nominate a former labor leader, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, to become labor secretary. That’s a critical position for farmers and farmworkers because of the Labor Department’s regulation of labor standards and authority over the H-2A visa program.
USDA’s decision to stop collecting farmworker wage information using the Agricultural Labor Survey will significantly reduce income for those workers, United Farm Workers said in a lawsuit that seeks to maintain the survey.
House Democrats are about to attempt something that Washington hasn’t been done in over three decades: Enact immigration reforms that would give farmers better access to foreign workers while offering legal status to their existing employees.