U.S. reviewing H-2A guest worker program rules

September 28, 2009
Written by By Sam Hananel, The Associated Press

Sept. 3, 2009, Washington — The U.S. Labor Department is trying again to roll back a Bush administration regulation that made it easier for farmers to hire temporary foreign farm workers.

The agency is proposing a rule that would boost wages and increase safeguards for thousands of seasonal workers brought in annually to help farmers harvest their crops.

If the proposed rule were to be adopted, it would largely reverse a regulation put in force shortly before President George W. Bush left office in January. The Labor Department tried to suspend the Bush rule early this year, but farm groups successfully challenged the decision in federal court.

Farm growers say the changes to the H-2A guest worker program will make it more cumbersome and expensive to hire foreign workers for field jobs that many Americans eschew.

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