Allen Reintroduces Legislation to Improve H-2A Efficiency
Washington, January 24, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, U.S. Representative Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) reintroduced the Better Agriculture Resources Now (BARN) Act, H.R. 641. This legislation works to reform and strengthen the H-2A visa program, a program which allows agriculture employers to hire non-immigrant workers for temporary labor. However, this process has been frequently caught up in red tape, stalling, or in some cases, preventing employers from applying for and hiring H-2A workers. The BARN Act increases the efficiency of the H-2A visa program to help farmers in Georgia and across America.
“Many farmers in Georgia and across the country rely on the H-2A visa program for not only their livelihood but to ensure food security in America. Currently, the H-2A program is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor, which has resulted in needless delay and neglect of the program. The DOL does not understand the urgency in which crops must be planted or harvested—or the consequences that could result from a lack of timeliness. This is exactly why I introduced the BARN Act again this Congress. My legislation transfers responsibility of H-2A certification to the Department of Agriculture—which is better suited to meet the needs of farmers and their time-sensitive operations.
Additionally, the BARN Act works to streamline the H-2A process and reforms specific parts of the program that have failed farmers to better serve the agriculture industry as a whole. President Trump has indicated that he wants to make immigration reform a cornerstone of his presidency, and I am hopeful that together we can lead the charge to make these much-needed changes to support our farmers.”
The BARN Act is also supported by the Georgia Farm Bureau. "If BARN were to pass it would significantly improve the H2A program,” said Gerald Long, Georgia Farm Bureau President. “We believe better H-2A rules would allow more farmers to utilize the program. BARN is clearly a step in the right direction.”
Rep. Allen is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture and previously introduced this legislation in the 114th Congress.
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