House Immigration Bill Hurts American Workers

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee passed this week another bad bill in its latest attempt to create piecemeal immigration reform, according to NCLR (National Council of La Raza).  H.R. 1773, the “Agricultural Guest Worker Act,” sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R–Va.), would replace the current H-2A program, which allows workers into the U.S. to perform seasonal agricultural work, with a new H-2C program that threatens huge job losses for U.S. workers by gutting provisions that require employers to first attempt to recruit domestic workers to fill available positions.

“This bill is outrageous and harks back to the reviled Bracero program that led to the abuse and exploitation of foreign workers, mainly fromMexico.  We are extremely disappointed that the House Judiciary Committee continues to push measures like the Goodlatte bill, which not only fail to meaningfully address immigration, but threaten civil rights and carry incredibly negative consequences for our American workforce,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR.  “The House should emulate the bipartisan efforts of the Senate and work together toward a commonsense solution.  Certainly that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their political leadership.”

The bill would also allow employers to exploit foreign workers by removing important protections, as well as drive down wages for U.S. workers by as much as 10%, according to some estimates.  Rep. Goodlatte’s bill does not include a process for farmworkers to work toward earning legalization, a critical omission that is contrary to the Senate bipartisan proposal and the opinions of most Americans, who broadly support a pathway to citizenship.  Passage of the bill signals that some members of the House are taking yet another step away from a comprehensive solution like the one undertaken in the Senate.

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