Despite threat of fines, jail time, price gouging still rampant in California farmworker communities

People in some of California’s poorest towns still face exorbitant prices on staple foods more than a month after the governor declared a state of emergency that made price gouging illegal. The practice has been particularly insidious in farmworker towns like El Centro, in the Imperial Valley, and Delano, in the San Joaquin Valley. In both towns, like so many of the state’s farmworker communities, more than a quarter of residents live in poverty and most are Latino.(No paywall)

USDA, Labor Department plan would allow guestworkers to shift jobs

To aid farmers worried about an imminent labor shortage, two federal departments said on Thursday that they will help farms find foreign and domestic workers who may be eligible to transfer from one agricultural employer to another. (No paywall)

U.S. embassy and consulates in Mexico to shut down, threatening labor supply for American farms

American farmers are bracing for major delays in the arrival of workers through the H-2A visa program after U.S. officials announced late Monday that the embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will close, effective March 18, due to health and safety concerns caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Officials at the embassy did not say when the facilities might reopen. The H-2A program brings some 200,000 foreign workers to U.S. farms each year.(No paywall)

Trump wouldn’t sign House ag labor bill, says Perdue

Despite strong and bipartisan House support for farm labor reform, President Trump is unlikely to sign a reform bill, now stalled in the Senate, if it reaches him, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.

House sends bipartisan farm labor bill to Senate

On a strong 260-165 vote, the House passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to give legal status to undocumented farmworkers and modernize the H-2A guestworker program. Lead sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that although action in the Republican-controlled Senate is not certain, “there is an interest” in assuring a reliable farm workforce.

Farm-labor reform bill heads for House vote this week

Six weeks after sponsors unveiled their plan, the House is scheduled to vote on a bipartisan bill to provide legal status to undocumented farmworkers and to modernize the H-2A guestworker program. If passed, the bill has an uncertain future, with impeachment dominating the congressional agenda and the Republican-run Senate blockading legislation from the Democratic-controlled House.

House panel approves farm labor reform, floor vote ‘soon’

The House will vote soon on a bipartisan bill to provide legal status to undocumented farmworkers and to modernize the H-2A agricultural guestworker program — the first agricultural labor reform bill in three decades, said sponsor Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

For livestock groups, USMCA and year-round labor visas are top priorities

Congress should overhaul the U.S. guest worker program so it allows foreign laborers to work year-round on farms and in meat processing plants, rather than just seasonally in the fields, said U.S. poultry and livestock groups on Tuesday. Representatives of six groups also supported prompt …

White House fleshes out immigration plan, but no mention of farm labor

President Trump's proposal for a "merit-based" immigration system that favors younger, highly-trained and high-salary workers is now a 620-page bill that will be released "very soon," said presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner on Tuesday.