UFW calls H-2A changes ‘new low’ while Farm Bureau approves
The United Farm Workers Tuesday said that the Trump administration’s changes to the H-2A certification program for farm workers set “a new low of hypocrisy, racism and self-dealing” while the American Farm Bureau Federation praised the rules released Monday.
United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero and UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres said in a joint statement, “Donald Trump tries to paint his 489 pages of proposed changes in the H-2A agricultural guest worker program as protecting U.S. workers.”
“Yet Trump is setting a new low of hypocrisy, racism and self-dealing, even for him,” they said.
“Trump’s rhetoric and policy towards immigrants and people of color can be simply summed up as go home to the countries from which you came — even if they come from the United States.
“Yet his H-2A rules-changing scheme would make it easier to deny jobs to domestic farm workers so growers can hire more temporary foreign agricultural guest workers and pay them less, thereby depressing pay for domestic workers. Although there are many undocumented farm workers, there are also many legal residents and U.S. citizens who would be victims of Trump’s changes in the H-2A program.
“Like so many other Trump policies, this one is about self-dealing and self-enrichment. H-2A workers toil in Trump’s Virginia vineyards. He would personally gain from changing the rules so he can hire more foreign guest workers more cheaply and make it harder for domestic farm workers to get those jobs. Because their visas only let them labor at Trump vineyards, the right of H-2A workers to remain in this country is totally at Trump’s mercy; they can be shipped back to their home countries at Trump’s whim simply for complaining about abuse or mistreatment.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “AFBF applauds President Trump and his administration for recognizing the need to reform our nation’s agricultural guest worker program.”
“American farmers and ranchers have long faced challenges in meeting their labor needs and asked for modernization of the H-2A program,” Duvall said.
“This is a lengthy rule and we intend to evaluate it closely for its potential to assist growers with their labor needs. We are pleased by this development, however, and look forward to submitting comments to the official docket on this proposal.”