'Guest Worker' Program Eyed As Part Of Immigration Deal
Immigration reform could include a large scale 'guest worker' program that might benefit farmers in the north country and elsewhere.
A group of eight senators laid out a set of principles for immigration reform last week. Among the items mentioned: rules that "will provide businesses with the ability to hire lower-skilled workers in a timely manner when Americans are unavailable or unwilling to fill those jobs."
Congress has tried and failed to craft an effective guest worker program in the past, but this time, labor unions and groups representing business are said to be trying to negotiate terms they both could live with.
(Read more from the Huffington Post here.)
An agreement to admit large numbers of guest workers would likely benefit farmers.
"There are not Americans willing to do that work, and it's critically important we get people who are willing and able to do that work," Congressman Bill Owens said last week. Owens said he wants a guest worker provision as part of immigration reform.
Jefferson County agriculture coordinator Jay Matteson has long advocated a system for guest workers.
Matteson envisions a program where "somebody can come into the United States for a three to five year period, pay into the system, pay taxes or whatever they would have to pay, be here legally so our farms can be certain they're here legally, and then go home."
(See, hear more about the guest worker program and north country farms by clicking on the picture.)