WHEREAS the shortage of agricultural labor continues to plague Western Slope agricultural producers, despite recent efforts to import legal workers; and
WHEREAS the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) existing programs (H2a and H2b) do not solve the problem, because the programs are too cumbersome, expensive, and time consuming; and
WHEREAS the current federal program cannot supply workers needed for harvest of the Western Slope crops, which are a crucial part of the agriculture industry of the region; and
WHEREAS national H2b visa quotas inherently favor the winter seasonal employers and the agriculture industries within southern-belt states because they have earlier growing seasons and therefore these quotas are often exhausted by the time the growing season and associated migrant labor demand occurs in other states like Colorado; and
WHEREAS the CLUB 20 Board has identified as a high priority for the Western Slope solving the shortage of farm labor that is a central issue facing Western Slope agriculture industry;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20:
- Calls upon Congress to create a supervised and accountable guest worker program under which laborers can come to the United States legally while working in agriculture and related fields.
- Supports efforts to enforce immigration laws and ensure domestic security while not unreasonably restricting access to migrant labor pools by those industries dependent upon such labor.
- Insists that states have equal access to nationally-defined migrant labor quotas.
- Supports streamlining of the current process for preliminary H2a certification.
- Supports removing the portability of H2a visas – such as is the case with H2b visas – to disallow employees to transition to different employment without employer consent.
- Supports restoring the H2b visa quota from 65,000 to the earlier 190,000 to address the inherent inequity which currently exists between state access to such permits.
- Supports fair & decent treatment of guest workers.