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Bob Larson Guestworker Visa Reform Bill Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: October 17, 2017

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A bill that would revamp the way guestworker visa programs operate is one step close to reality after it moved to the House Judiciary Committee.

Representative Dan Newhouse says the American Guestworker Act would be open to undocumented workers already in the country, with the stipulation they return home for brief periods after their visa terms expire …

DAN NEWHOUSE … “There would be provisions that would get us towards, what I believe has been an obvious, but very difficult to achieve situation, where individuals could have a type of, for lack of a better word, a visa or a legal document that allows them to come back and forth over the border to work, whether it’s on a temporary or seasonal basis through the H-2C program.”

Newhouse says it would remove a lot of the worries for guestworkers just trying to make a living …

DAN NEWHOUSE ... “And that would then, I think, remove a lot of the issues we have at the border now because the incentive to sneak across is gone if you have a legal way to do that. And, that’s what a lot of these people are trying to do and, frankly, as is illustrated so well in Central Washington right now, we absolutely depend on these folks in order to be able to successfully complete our harvest seasons. So, like I said, there’s some potential provisions in here that I think will be really positive.”

The Northwest Horticulture Council, the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, the Washington Growers League, and WAFLA have all endorsed the bill.

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