Chambliss introduces bill to streamline temporary worker program

A Georgia senator has introduced legislation he says provides a “non-amnesty option for temporary agriculture workers.”

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., offered up the “Helping Agriculture Receive Verifiable Employees Securely & Temporarily” – or “HARVEST” – Act of 2010. The bill aims to “reform and streamline” the H-2A temporary worker program to both discourage businesses from hiring illegal aliens while meeting the agricultural industry’s current needs, according to Chambliss.

According to a news release from Chambliss, the bill would, in part, “provide a mechanism for addressing the presence of undocumented workers on our nation’s farms without creating a work stoppage and without providing a new path to citizenship.” In addition, the legislation would “ensure that stringent protections for U.S. workers are in place,” according to the release.

“The continued safety of agricultural goods produced in the United States is an issue of national security. Currently, an estimated 50 to 70 percent of our agricultural workforce is undocumented. It is critical to know who is handling our nation’s food supply, and this legislation provides the only non-amnesty option for temporary workers in the United States,” Chambliss said in a statement.

He added: “This bill focuses on the needs of America’s farmers and ranchers rather than focusing on providing citizenship to illegal farm workers and their families.”

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