Oct 13 2011
WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill to help dairy and ranch owners maintain the foreign workers they need to keep their businesses operating year-round, without creating a legal path to citizenship for workers. The Dairy and Sheep H2A (DASH) Act would make dairy workers, sheep herders, and goat herders eligible to apply for year-round positions through the H2A visa program. Currently, temporary farm workers are only able to obtain seasonal visas.
“Immigration involves a complicated and difficult set of issues, particularly regarding America’s agricultural industry,” said Senator Lee. “Few Americans are willing to work in many of these jobs, and outdated visa laws prevent business from attracting temporary foreign workers to fill the shortage.
“Making certain types of legal immigration more efficient diminishes the incentive for some to come here illegally or overstay their visas. The DASH Act streamlines the system by which we identify, process, and oversee temporary workers coming to our country to do agricultural work, thereby strengthening our economy.”
Under the legislation, visas for such workers would have an initial term of three years and could be renewed for additional periods of three years without requiring workers to return to their home countries. The DASH Act would in no way provide a legal path to citizenship and would require workers who do not obtain a proper renewal to go home.
The legislation is also sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.