Monday, November 26, 2007

Some struggles over agricultural "guest worker" regulations:
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) sent a strongly worded letter earlier this week to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, objecting to an administrative attempt to loosen rules on companies that hire guest workers. The Department of Labor rejected Miller’s assertion that its interpretation is illegal.

At issue is whether agricultural employers can hire foreign guest workers without first doing multistate recruiting of U.S. citizens or other legal residents. Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, argues that the law is clear and that the agency must require recruiting. The Labor Department says not necessarily.

Immigration reform proved too difficult an issue for Congress to deal with this session; the squabble over the relatively small guest-worker program — known as H-2A — shows how tough comprehensive reform will be.