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February 10, 2020 | In The News

Greg Steube: Time to Move H-2A Visas From Labor Department to USDA

A congressman from the Sunshine State wants to move the H-2A visa program for temporary agriculture jobs from the U.S. Labor Department to the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., brought out the “Moving H-2A to United States Department of Agriculture Act” on Thursday.

According to the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the “H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.”

Steube weighed in on why he had introduced the bill.

“Farmers across Florida rely on the H-2A visa program each year for temporary agricultural labor,” said Steube. “Given that the purpose of the H-2A program is to address agricultural labor needs, it seems only logical that we would rely on the Department of Agriculture to review and grant these visas.”

“This bill would relocate the H-2A visa program from the Department of Labor to the Department of Agriculture, including all personnel, funding, and other materials necessary for the administration of the program. The bill also transfers the responsibility for issuing the visa from the Attorney General to the Secretary of Homeland Security,” the congressman’s office noted.

Steube insisted the USDA was the right place to oversee these visas.

“The USDA is the expert when it comes to agriculture, and I for one think it is the best department to determine the needs of the agricultural community when it comes to labor,” said Steube. “It is my hope that with the transfer of this program, farmers in Florida and across America will see expedited review times and an overall improvement in the administration of the program. It’s time we trust the experts to manage this critical program and ensure the needs of our farmers are being met efficiently and effectively.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week. So far, there are no cosponsors in the House. There is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.