The U.S. Senate has passed its Border Security, Economic opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), but the bill is expected to face opposition in the House of Representatives.
The American Horse Council has strongly supported the bill, saying that immigration reform has been a horse industry priority for many years. Despite substantial efforts to recruit and train U.S. workers, horse farms and others in the horse industry have been forced to rely on foreign workers and utilize both the H-2B (non-agricultural) and H-2A (agricultural) temporary worker programs to meet their labor needs. However, the current temporary worker system is not reliable and is extremely burdensome to use, says the AHC.
According to the AHC, S.744 has the potential to strengthen border security and solve many of the immigration issues facing the horse industry. It would allow undocumented workers to legalize their status and replace the broken H-2A program with a new agricultural worker program administered by U.S. Department of Agriculture. It would also make improvements to the H-2B program and create a new W-visa low skilled program that would allow employers to hire foreign workers when no Americans can be found.
It is not too early for horsemen and women to contact or email their Representatives in Congress to let them know that they are often unable to find Americans willing to work as farm hands, grooms, and stable attendants; that they are often forced to rely on foreign workers and the H-2B and H-2A temporary worker programs to meet their labor needs; and that the current immigration system is broken and the current temporary worker programs are costly, hard to use, and unreliable.
Click for a list of your Representatives in Congress and their contact information.
Posted July 1, 2013