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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: September 23, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S11833-S11859]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr23se03-182]                         



 
          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
[ ... ] 

                                 
      By Mr. CRAIG (for himself, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Smith, Mr. Graham of 
        Florida, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Gregg, Mr. Lieberman, 
        Mr. McCain, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Hagel, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Voinovich, 
        Mr. Wyden, Mr. Coleman, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. DeWine, Mrs. Boxer, 
        and Mrs. Murray):
  S. 1645. A bill to provide for the adjustment of status of certain 
foreign agricultural workers, to amend the Immigration and Nationality 
Act to reform the H-2A worker program under that Act, to provide a 
stable, legal agricultural workforce, to extend basic legal protections 
and better working conditions to more workers, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. CRAIG. Mr. President, I am pleased to announce today the 
introduction of bipartisan farmworker reform legislation with a 
bipartisan group of Members in both the Senate and the House of 
Representatives. Our leading sponsors include Senator Ted Kennedy, 
Congressman Howard Berman, and Congressman Chris Cannon.
  The name of the bill says it all--``AgJOBS.'' That stands for the 
``Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003.'' 
We are introducing this bill today because Members of Congress realize 
our Nation is facing a growing crisis--for farm workers, growers, and 
the wider public. We want and need a stable, predictable, legal work 
force in American agriculture.
  Willing American workers deserve a system that puts them first in 
line for available jobs with fair market wages. We want all workers to 
receive decent treatment and protection of fundamental legal rights. 
Consumers deserve a safe, stable, domestic food supply. American 
citizens and taxpayers deserve secure borders and a government that 
works.
  Yet Americans are being threatened on all these counts, because 
agriculture, more than any other sector of the economy, has become 
dependent for its existence on the labor of immigrants who are here 
without legal documentation. The only program currently in place to 
respond to a lack of legal domestic workers, the H-2A Guest Workers 
Program, is profoundly broken. Outside of H-2A, farm employers have no 
effective, reliable assurance that their employees are legal. Our own 
government has estimated that half of the total 1.6 million 
agricultural work force are not legally authorized to work in this 
country, based, astoundingly, on self-disclosure in worker surveys. 
Responsible private estimates run to 85 percent.
  Several more times in recent months, we have read of the senseless 
and inhuman deaths of farmworkers being smuggled illegally into the 
United States. Those who survive to work in the fields are among the 
most vulnerable persons in this country, unable to assert the most 
basic legal rights and protections. This situation never was 
acceptable. It has become intolerable. Immigrants not legally 
authorized to work in this country know they must work in hiding. They 
have been known to pay ``coyotes''--labor smugglers--thousands of 
dollars to be smuggled into this country. They cannot even claim basic 
legal rights and protections. They are vulnerable to predation and 
exploitation. They sometimes have been stuffed inhumanly into 
dangerously enclosed truck trailers and car trunks, in order to be 
transported, hidden from the view of the law. We heard with horror of 
the young girl who died this summer when a labor smuggler abandoned her 
entire family in the desert in the Southwest.

  In contrast, legal workers have legal protections. They can assert 
wage, safety, and other legal protections. They can bargain openly and 
join unions. H-2A workers, in fact, are guaranteed housing and 
transportation. Time is running out for American agriculture, 
farmworkers, and consumers. What was a problem years ago is a crisis 
today and will be a catastrophe if we do not act immediately. A growing 
number of family farms simply are going out of business as growers try 
to, but cannot, secure a legal work force. All Americans face the 
danger of losing more and more of our safe, domestic food supply to 
imports.
  Many farmers have seen recently hired workers scattered unpredictably 
by a government letter or random raid. As enforcement of our 
immigration and employment documentation laws has been stepped up--
sporadically and haphazardly--workers are rarely deported,

[[Page S11835]]

but the workplace is frequently and widely disrupted. Between 
computerized checking by the Social Security Administration and audits 
and raids by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, more and more 
employers have discovered they have undocumented employees. More and 
more workers here illegally are being discovered and evicted from their 
jobs. The larger the so-called ``underground economy,'' the harder it 
is to knowledgeably and effectively provide for our homeland security 
needs.
  The H-2A status quo is complicated and legalistic. The Department of 
Labor's compliance manual alone is more than 300 pages long. A General 
Accounting Office study found that DOL missed deadlines in processing 
H-2A applications 40 percent of the time. For workers and growers 
alike, the H-2A status quo is slow, bureaucratic, and inflexible. It 
does nothing to recognize the uncertainties farmers face, from changes 
in the weather to global market demands. The current H-2A process is so 
hard to use, it will place only about 40,000 legal guest workers this 
year--2 to 3 percent of the total agricultural work force.
  The answer is AgJOBS. This farmworker reform legislation builds upon 
some six years of discussion and ideas from among growers, farmworker 
advocates, Latino and immigration issue groups, Members of both parties 
in both Houses of Congress, and others. The coming together of all 
these diverse viewpoints and interests makes AgJOBS truly an historic 
piece of legislation. Our AgJOBS bill offers a thoughtful, two-step 
solution. On a one-time basis, experienced, trusted workers with a 
significant work history in American agriculture would be allowed to 
stay here legally and earn adjustment to legal status. For workers and 
growers using the H-2A legal guest worker program, that program would 
be overhauled and made more streamlined, practical, and secure. AgJOBS 
takes a win-win-win approach for our nation, workers, and farmers.
  AgJOBS may be no one's idea of perfect labor and immigration 
legislation in an ideal world. However, for the imperfect world we live 
in, it is a balanced, practical, and achievable approach to resolving 
urgent problems that require immediate attention. The broad bipartism 
support for this approach is reflected already in the cosponsorship of 
a number of our colleagues. Among others, I am happy we are joined by 
Senators Gordon Smith and Bob Graham as original cosponsors, both of 
whom have invested years of work in this issue. Supporters of this 
legislation include the United Farm Workers of America, the National 
Council of La Raza, and the AFL-CIO, all of whom participated in a 
press conference the principal sponsors held earlier today, as well as 
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This bill has overwhelming support in the 
agriculture community, including the National Council of Agricultural 
Employers, the American Nursery and Landscape Association, and the 
American Farm Bureau Federation.
  I ask unanimous consent to print in the Record a list from the 
Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform that includes a large 
number of agricultural groups around the country who support this bill. 
I also ask unanimous consent to print a technical summary of the bill; 
a side-by-side comparison with current law; an open letter to Congress 
from our former Secretary of Agriculture, Ambassador Clayton Yeutter; 
and the next of the AgJOBS bill.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

              Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform


                           national co-chairs

       American Nursery & Landscape Association; National Council 
     of Agricultural Employers; New England Apple Council.


                   association members and supporters

       Agricultural Affiliates; American Farm Bureau Federation; 
     American Frozen Foods Institute; American Horse Council; 
     American Mushroom Institute; CoBank-Northeast Farm Credit 
     Regional Council; Council of Northeast Farmer Cooperatives; 
     National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; 
     National Cattleman's Beef Association; National Chicken 
     Council; National Christmas Tree Association; National Cotton 
     Council; National Council of Farmer Cooperatives; National 
     Potato Council; National Watermelon Association, Inc.; Nisei 
     Farmers League; Northeast Dairy Coops; Northern Christmas 
     Tree Growers; Northern Ohio Growers Association; Northwest 
     Horticultural Council.
       Society of American Florists; United Egg Association; 
     United Egg Producers; United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable 
     Association; U.S. Apple Association; U.S. Custom Harvesters 
     Association; Western Growers Association; Agricultural 
     Council of California; Alabama Farmers Federation; Alabama 
     Nursery Association; Arizona Nursery Associations; Arkansas 
     Green Industry Association; Associated Landscape Contractors 
     of Colorado; Associated Landscape Contractors of 
     Massachusetts; California Association of Nurserymen; 
     California Citrus Mutual; California Farm Bureau; California 
     Grape and Tree Fruit League; Nursery Growers Association 
     (CA); Colorado Nursery Association.
       Connecticut Nursery & Landscape Association; Florida Citrus 
     Mutual; Florida Farm Bureau Federation; Florida Nurserymen & 
     Growers Association; Florida Fruit and Vegetable 
     Association; Georgia Green Industry Association; Gulf 
     Citrus Growers, Association; Idaho Nursery Association: 
     Illinois Landscape Contractors Association; Illinois 
     Nurserymen's Association; Illinois Specialty Growers 
     Association; Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association; Iowa 
     Nursery and Landscape Association; Kansas Nursery and 
     Landscape Association; Kentucky Nursery & Landscape 
     Association; Louisiana Nursery & Landscape Association; 
     Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association; Michigan 
     Nursery and Landscape Association; Minnesota Nursery & 
     Landscape Association; Mississippi Nursery Association.
       Missouri Landscape & Nursery Association; New England 
     Nursery Association; New Jersey Nursery & Landscape 
     Association; New York State Nursery & Landscape Association; 
     New York State Vegetable Growers Association; North Carolina 
     Association of Nurserymen; Northern California Growers 
     Association; Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio, Inc.; Ohio 
     Nursery & Landscape Association; Oregon Association of 
     Nurserymen; Oregon Farm Bureau Federation; Pacific Tomato 
     Growers; Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association; Rhode 
     Island Nursery and Landscape Association; Senseny South 
     Corporation; Snake River Farmers Association; South Carolina 
     Nursery Association; Southern Nursery Association; State 
     Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania; Tennessee Nursery 
     & Landscape Association.
       Texas Nursery & Landscape Association; Texas Produce 
     Association; Turfgrass Producers International; Ventura 
     County Agriculture Association; Virginia Agricultural Growers 
     Association; Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association; 
     Wasco County Fruit & Produce League; Washington Growers 
     Clearing House Association, Inc.; Washington Growers League; 
     Washington Potato & Onion Association; Washington State 
     Nursery & Landscape Association; Western Grower Law Group; 
     West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association; Wisconsin 
     Nursery Association; Wisconsin Landscape Federation; 
     Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers.
                                  ____


   Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003--
           Summary of Significant Provisions--September 2003


title i--adjustment of agricultural workers to temporary and permanent 
                            resident status

       Title I establishes a program whereby agricultural workers 
     in the United States who lack authorized immigration status 
     but who can demonstrate that they have worked 100 or more 
     days in a 12 consecutive month period during the 18-month 
     period ending on August 31, 2003 can apply for adjustment of 
     status. Eligible applicants would be granted temporary 
     resident status. If the farmworker performs at least 360 work 
     days of agricultural employment during the 6-year period 
     ending on August 31, 2009, including at least 240 work days 
     during the first 3 years following adjustment, and at least 
     75 days of agricultural work during each of three 12-month 
     periods in the 6-years following adjustment to temporary 
     resident status, the farmworker may apply for permanent 
     resident status.
       During the period of temporary resident status the 
     farmworker is employment authorized, and can travel abroad 
     and re-enter the United States. Workers adjusting to 
     temporary resident status may work in non-agricultural 
     occupations, as long as their agricultural work requirements 
     are met. While in temporary resident status, workers may 
     select their employers and may switch employers. During the 
     period of temporary resident status, the farmworker's spouse 
     and minor children who are residing in the United States may 
     remain in the United States, but are not employment 
     authorized. The spouse and minor children may adjust to 
     permanent resident status once the farmworker adjusts to 
     permanent resident status. Unauthorized workers who do not 
     apply or are not qualified for adjustment to temporary 
     resident status are subject to removal. Temporary residents 
     under this program who do not fulfill the agricultural work 
     requirement or are inadmissible under immigration law or 
     commit a felony or three or more misdemeanors as temporary 
     residents are denied adjustment to permanent resident status 
     and are subject to removal. The adjustment program is funded 
     through application fees.

[[Page S11836]]

     titles ii and iii--reform of the h-2a temporary and seasonal 
                      agricultural worker program

       This section modifies the existing H-2A temporary and 
     seasonal foreign agricultural worker program. Employers 
     desiring to employ H-2A foreign workers in seasonal jobs (10 
     months or less) will file an application and a job offer with 
     the Secretary of Labor. If the application and job offer 
     meets the requirements of the program and there are no 
     obvious deficiencies the Secretary must approve the 
     application. Employers must seek to employ qualified U.S. 
     workers prior to the arrival of H-2A foreign workers by 
     filing a job order with a local job service office at least 
     28 days prior to date of need and also authorizing the 
     posting of the job on an electronic job registry.
       All workers in job opportunities covered by an H-2A 
     application must be provided with workers' compensation 
     insurance, and no job may be filled by an H-2A worker that is 
     vacant because the previous occupant is on strike or involved 
     in a labor dispute. If the job is covered by a collective 
     bargaining agreement, the employer must also notify the 
     bargaining agent of the filing of the application. If the 
     job opportunity is not covered by a collective bargaining 
     agreement, the employer is required to provide additional 
     benefits, as follows. The employer must provide housing at 
     no cost, or a monetary housing allowance where the 
     governor of a State has determined that there is 
     sufficient migrant housing available, to workers whose 
     place of residence is beyond normal commuting distance. 
     The employer must also reimburse inbound and return 
     transportation costs to workers who meet employment 
     requirements and who travel more than 100 miles to come to 
     work for the employer. The employer must also guarantee 
     employment for at least three quarters of the period of 
     employment, and assure at least the highest of the 
     applicable statutory minimum wage, the prevailing wage in 
     the occupation and area of intended employment, or a 
     reformed Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR). If the AEWR 
     applies, it will not be higher than that existing on 1/01/
     03 and if Congress fails to enact a new wage rate within 3 
     years, the AEWR will be indexed to the change in the 
     consumer price index, capped at 4 percent per year 
     beginning December 1, 2006. Employers must meet specific 
     motor vehicle safety standards.
       H-2A foreign workers are admitted for the duration of the 
     initial job, not to exceed 10 months, and may extend their 
     stay if recruited for additional seasonal jobs, to a maximum 
     continuous stay of 3 years, after which the H-2A foreign 
     worker must depart the United States. H-2A foreign workers 
     are authorized to be employed only in the job opportunity and 
     by the employer for which they were admitted. Workers who 
     abandon their employment or are terminated for cause must be 
     reported by the employer, and are subject to removal. H-2A 
     foreign workers are provided with a counterfeit resistant 
     identity and employment authorization document.
       The Secretary of Labor is required to provide a process for 
     filing, investigating and disposing of complaints, and may 
     order back wages and civil money penalties for program 
     violators. The Secretary of Homeland Security may order 
     debarment of violators for up to 2 years. H-2A workers are 
     provided with a limited Federal private right of action to 
     enforce the requirements of housing, transportation, wages, 
     the employment guarantee, motor vehicle safety, retaliation 
     and any other written promises in the employer's job offer. 
     Either party may request mediation after the filing of the 
     complaint. State contract claims seeking to enforce terms of 
     the H-2A program are preempted by the limited Federal right 
     of action. No other State law rights are preempted or 
     restricted.
       The administration of the H-2A program is funded through a 
     user fee paid by agricultural employers.

[[Page S11837]]

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[[Page S11838]]

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[[Page S11839]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH23SE6.003



[[Page S11840]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH23SE6.004



[[Page S11841]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH23SE6.005



[[Page S11842]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH23SE6.006



[[Page S11843]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH23SE6.007



[[Page S11844]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TH23SE6.008



[[Page S11845]]

 Text of Open Letter to Congress on Agricultural Labor Reform, August, 
                                  2003

       The recent tragic truck-trailer deaths of Mexican workers 
     seeking illegal entry to the U.S. have raised once again the 
     wisdom and feasibility of our immigration policies at the 
     U.S./Mexico border. This is an issue that many of us in 
     American agriculture have tried to address over the years, 
     but few have listened. Perhaps our views can now be heard.
       Many of the workers entering the U.S. from Mexico are 
     hoping for jobs on farms or in nurseries. As you know, such 
     jobs often await them, for thousands of American farmers 
     wonder every year whether they'll have dependable help at 
     harvest time. This is especially critical for our fruit and 
     vegetable industries, where the ``open window'' for harvest 
     can be very short-lived. But similar concerns are now 
     emerging in many other farm enterprises, ranging from dairy 
     to poultry to greenhouse crops to beef to Christmas trees. 
     This has become a national problem, and a recurring nightmare 
     for our agricultural employers nationwide.
       Government statistics and other evidence suggest that at 
     least 50% and perhaps 70% of the current agricultural 
     workforce is not in this country legally. The immediate 
     reaction of some is to say that these workers have broken the 
     law and should be deported, and that U.S. farmers and other 
     employers have brought this problem on themselves by not 
     doing a better job of detecting fraudulent documents.
       That ``easy'' answer ignores the reality that few Americans 
     are drawn to highly seasonal and physically demanding work in 
     agriculture. At chaotic harvest times, a stable, dependable 
     workforce is essential. Instead, American farmers are in a 
     ``damned if you do, damned if you don't'' situation where 
     they're required by law to be policemen, immigration 
     officials, and security experts while simultaneously trying 
     to get their crops harvested before they spoil.
       My experience over many years tells me that agricultural 
     employers do not want to hire illegal immigrants. What they 
     want is a stable, viable program with integrity that will 
     meet their labor force needs in a timely, effective way. What 
     they do not want is a program with major shortcomings, for 
     which they will inevitably be blamed. Unfortunately, that is 
     what our laws have imposed upon them.
       As a nation, we can and must do better--for agricultural 
     employers and for immigrant workers. Many of these workers 
     have come to the U.S. on a regular basis. Many have lived 
     here for years doing our toughest jobs, and some would like 
     to earn the privilege of living here permanently. Why not 
     permit them to do so, over a specified timeframe, thereby 
     keeping the best workers here? That has the additional 
     advantage of permitting our government to better focus its 
     limited monitoring/enforcement resources, particularly where 
     security may be a concern. Let's use entry/exit tracking, 
     tamper proof documentation, biometric identification, etc. 
     where it will truly pay security dividends, and let's stop 
     painting all immigrants with the same brush.
       A limited, earned legalization for agriculture is nothing 
     like an amnesty program. It would apply only to immigrants 
     who are at work, paying taxes, and are willing to earn their 
     way to citizenship so that they can share in the American 
     dream. These workers form the foundation of much of our 
     nation's agricultural workforce. We need them!
       Agricultural employers need an updated guest work program 
     to replace the antiquated ``H2A'' temporary worker system, 
     which is too expensive and too bureaucratic to be of 
     practical use. Necessary reforms include fair and stronger 
     security and identification measures, market-based wage 
     rates, and comprehensive application procedures.
       The reform program I have outlined already has broad 
     bipartisan support, thanks to the good work and leadership of 
     Sens. Larry Craig, Gordon Smith, Ted Kennedy, and Bob Graham, 
     among others, and a bipartisan group of House colleagues. 
     Their work product deserves immediate and serious 
     consideration by the Congress. The status quo is simply 
     unacceptable. It puts both American employers and immigrant 
     workers in an untenable situation--with a high cost in 
     economic efficiency, respect for the law, and sometimes even 
     in human life. The reforms now being proposed are a practical 
     solution to a serious problem that is evolving into a 
     national crisis.
       As President Bush has stated, we can and must do better to 
     match a willing and hardworking immigrant worker with 
     producers who are in desperate need of a lawful workforce. It 
     is time, and in our great country's interest, to enact these 
     reforms.
           Sincerely,
                                                   Clayton Yeutter
     (Former Agriculture Secretary and U.S. Trade Representative).
                                  ____


                                S. 1645

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the 
     ``Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 
     2003''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.

                  TITLE I--ADJUSTMENT TO LAWFUL STATUS

Sec. 101. Agricultural workers.
Sec. 102. Correction of Social Security records.

                TITLE II--REFORM OF H-2A WORKER PROGRAM

Sec. 201. Amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

                  TITLE III--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 301. Determination and use of user fees.
Sec. 302. Regulations.
Sec. 303. Effective date.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Agricultural employment.--The term ``agricultural 
     employment'' means any service or activity that is considered 
     to be agricultural under section 3(f) of the Fair Labor 
     Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203(f)) or agricultural 
     labor under section 3121(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 
     1986 (26 U.S.C. 3121(g)). For purposes of this paragraph, 
     agricultural employment includes employment under section 
     101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act 
     (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a)).
       (2) Employer.--The term ``employer'' means any person or 
     entity, including any farm labor contractor and any 
     agricultural association, that employs workers in 
     agricultural employment.
       (3) Job opportunity.--The term ``job opportunity'' means a 
     job opening for temporary full-time employment at a place in 
     the United States to which United States workers can be 
     referred.
       (4) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Homeland Security.
       (5) Temporary.--A worker is employed on a ``temporary'' 
     basis where the employment is intended not to exceed 10 
     months.
       (6) United states worker.--The term ``United States 
     worker'' means any worker, whether a United States citizen or 
     national, a lawfully admitted permanent resident alien, or 
     any other alien, who is authorized to work in the job 
     opportunity within the United States, except an alien 
     admitted or otherwise provided status under section 
     101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act 
     (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a)).
       (7) Work day.--The term ``work day'' means any day in which 
     the individual is employed 1 or more hours in agriculture.

                  TITLE I--ADJUSTMENT TO LAWFUL STATUS

     SEC. 101. AGRICULTURAL WORKERS.

       (a) Temporary Resident Status.--
       (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the Secretary shall confer upon an alien who qualifies 
     under this subsection the status of an alien lawfully 
     admitted for temporary residence if the Secretary determines 
     that the following requirements are satisfied with respect to 
     the alien:
       (A) Performance of agricultural employment in the united 
     states.--The alien must establish that the alien has 
     performed agricultural employment in the United States for at 
     least 575 hours or 100 work days, whichever is less, during 
     any 12 consecutive months during the 18-month period ending 
     on August 31, 2003.
       (B) Application period.--The alien must apply for such 
     status during the 18-month application period beginning on 
     the 1st day of the 7th month that begins after the date of 
     enactment of this Act.
       (C) Admissible as immigrant.--The alien must establish that 
     the alien is otherwise admissible to the United States under 
     section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
     1182), except as otherwise provided under subsection (e)(2).
       (2) Authorized travel.--During the period an alien is in 
     lawful temporary resident status granted under this 
     subsection, the alien has the right to travel abroad 
     (including commutation from a residence abroad) in the same 
     manner as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
       (3) Authorized employment.--During the period an alien is 
     in lawful temporary resident status granted under this 
     subsection, the alien shall be provided an ``employment 
     authorized'' endorsement or other appropriate work permit, in 
     the same manner as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent 
     residence.
       (4) Termination of temporary resident status.--During the 
     period of temporary resident status granted an alien under 
     this subsection, the Secretary may terminate such status only 
     upon a determination under this Act that the alien is 
     deportable.
       (5) Record of employment.--
       (A) In general.--Each employer of a worker granted status 
     under this subsection shall annually--
       (i) provide a written record of employment to the alien; 
     and
       (ii) provide a copy of such record to the Secretary.
       (B) Sunset.--The obligation under subparagraph (A) 
     terminates on August 31, 2009.
       (b) Rights of Aliens Granted Temporary Resident Status.--
       (1) In general.--Except as otherwise provided in this 
     subsection, an alien who acquires the status of an alien 
     lawfully admitted for temporary residence under subsection 
     (a), such status not having changed, shall be considered to 
     be an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence for 
     purposes of any law other than any provision of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).

[[Page S11846]]

       (2) Terms of employment respecting aliens admitted under 
     this section.--
       (A) Prohibition.--No alien granted status under subsection 
     (a) may be terminated from employment by any employer during 
     the period of temporary resident status except for just 
     cause.
       (B) Treatment of complaints.--
       (i) Establishment of process.--The Secretary shall 
     establish a process for the receipt, initial review, and 
     disposition in accordance with this subparagraph of 
     complaints by aliens granted temporary resident status under 
     subsection (a) who allege that they have been terminated 
     without just cause. No proceeding shall be conducted under 
     this subparagraph with respect to a termination unless the 
     Secretary determines that the complaint was filed not later 
     than 6 months after the date of the termination.
       (ii) Initiation of arbitration.--If the Secretary finds 
     that a complaint has been filed in accordance with clause (i) 
     and there is reasonable cause to believe that the complainant 
     was terminated without just cause, the Secretary shall 
     initiate binding arbitration proceedings by requesting the 
     Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to appoint a 
     mutually agreeable arbitrator from the roster of arbitrators 
     maintained by such Service for the geographical area in which 
     the employer is located. The procedures and rules of such 
     Service shall be applicable to the selection of such 
     arbitrator and to such arbitration proceedings. The Secretary 
     shall pay the fee and expenses of the arbitrator.
       (iii) Arbitration proceedings.--The arbitrator shall 
     conduct the proceeding in accordance with the policies and 
     procedures promulgated by the American Arbitration 
     Association applicable to private arbitration of employment 
     disputes. The arbitrator shall make findings respecting 
     whether the termination was for just cause. The arbitrator 
     may not find that the termination was for just cause unless 
     the employer so demonstrates by a preponderance of the 
     evidence. If the arbitrator finds that the termination was 
     not for just cause, the arbitrator shall make a specific 
     finding of the number of days or hours of work lost by the 
     employee as a result of the termination. The arbitrator shall 
     have no authority to order any other remedy, including, but 
     not limited to, reinstatement, back pay, or front pay to the 
     affected employee. Within 30 days from the conclusion of the 
     arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator shall transmit the 
     findings in the form of a written opinion to the parties to 
     the arbitration and the Secretary. Such findings shall be 
     final and conclusive, and no official or court of the United 
     States shall have the power or jurisdiction to review any 
     such findings.
       (iv) Effect of arbitration findings.--If the Secretary 
     receives a finding of an arbitrator that an employer has 
     terminated an alien granted temporary resident status under 
     subsection (a) without just cause, the Secretary shall credit 
     the alien for the number of days or hours of work lost for 
     purposes of the requirement of subsection (c)(1).
       (v) Treatment of attorney's fees.--The parties shall bear 
     the cost of their own attorney's fees involved in the 
     litigation of the complaint.
       (vi) Nonexclusive remedy.--The complaint process provided 
     for in this subparagraph is in addition to any other rights 
     an employee may have in accordance with applicable law.
       (vii) Effect on other actions or proceedings.--Any finding 
     of fact or law, judgment, conclusion, or final order made by 
     an arbitrator in the proceeding before the Secretary shall 
     not be conclusive or binding in any separate or subsequent 
     action or proceeding between the employee and the employee's 
     current or prior employer brought before an arbitrator, 
     administrative agency, court, or judge of any State or the 
     United States, regardless of whether the prior action was 
     between the same or related parties or involved the same 
     facts, except that the arbitrator's specific finding of the 
     number of days or hours of work lost by the employee as a 
     result of the employment termination may be referred to the 
     Secretary pursuant to clause (iv).
       (C) Civil penalties.--
       (i) In general.--If the Secretary finds, after notice and 
     opportunity for a hearing, that an employer of an alien 
     granted temporary resident status under subsection (a) has 
     failed to provide the record of employment required under 
     subsection (a)(5) or has provided a false statement of 
     material fact in such a record, the employer shall be subject 
     to a civil money penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 
     per violation.
       (ii) Limitation.--The penalty applicable under clause (i) 
     for failure to provide records shall not apply unless the 
     alien has provided the employer with evidence of employment 
     authorization granted under this section.
       (c) Adjustment to Permanent Residence.--
       (1) Agricultural workers.--
       (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), 
     the Secretary shall adjust the status of an alien granted 
     lawful temporary resident status under subsection (a) to that 
     of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the 
     Secretary determines that the following requirements are 
     satisfied:
       (i) Qualifying employment.--The alien has performed at 
     least 2,060 hours or 360 work days, whichever is less, of 
     agricultural employment in the United States, during the 
     period beginning on September 1, 2003, and ending on August 
     31, 2009.
       (ii) Qualifying years.--The alien has performed at least 
     430 hours or 75 work days, whichever is less, of agricultural 
     employment in the United States in at least 3 nonoverlapping 
     periods of 12 consecutive months during the period beginning 
     on September 1, 2003, and ending on August 31, 2009. 
     Qualifying periods under this clause may include 
     nonconsecutive 12-month periods.
       (iii) Qualifying work in first 3 years.--The alien has 
     performed at least 1,380 hours or 240 work days, whichever is 
     less, of agricultural employment during the period beginning 
     on September 1, 2003, and ending on August 31, 2006.
       (iv) Application period.--The alien applies for adjustment 
     of status not later than August 31, 2010.
       (v) Proof.--In meeting the requirements of clauses (i), 
     (ii), and (iii), an alien may submit the record of employment 
     described in subsection (a)(5) or such documentation as may 
     be submitted under subsection (d)(3).
       (vi) Disability.--In determining whether an alien has met 
     the requirements of clauses (i), (ii), and (iii), the 
     Secretary shall credit the alien with any work days lost 
     because the alien was unable to work in agricultural 
     employment due to injury or disease arising out of and in the 
     course of the alien's agricultural employment, if the alien 
     can establish such disabling injury or disease through 
     medical records.
       (B) Grounds for denial of adjustment of status.--The 
     Secretary may deny an alien adjustment to permanent resident 
     status, and provide for termination of the temporary resident 
     status granted such alien under subsection (a), if--
       (i) the Secretary finds by a preponderance of the evidence 
     that the adjustment to temporary resident status was the 
     result of fraud or willful misrepresentation, as described in 
     section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality 
     Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)(i)); or
       (ii) the alien--

       (I) commits an act that makes the alien inadmissible to the 
     United States under section 212 of the Immigration and 
     Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182), except as provided under 
     subsection (e)(2); or
       (II) is convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors 
     committed in the United States.

       (C) Grounds for removal.--Any alien granted temporary 
     resident status under subsection (a) who does not apply for 
     adjustment of status under this subsection before the 
     expiration of the application period described in 
     subparagraph (A)(iv), or who fails to meet the other 
     requirements of subparagraph (A) by the end of the applicable 
     period, is deportable and may be removed under section 240 of 
     the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229a). The 
     Secretary shall issue regulations establishing grounds to 
     waive subparagraph (A)(iii) with respect to an alien who has 
     completed at least 200 days of the work requirement specified 
     in such subparagraph in the event of a natural disaster which 
     substantially limits the availability of agricultural 
     employment or a personal emergency that prevents compliance 
     with such subparagraph.
       (2) Spouses and minor children.--
       (A) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the Secretary shall confer the status of lawful 
     permanent resident on the spouse and minor child of an alien 
     granted status under paragraph (1), including any individual 
     who was a minor child on the date such alien was granted 
     temporary resident status, if the spouse or minor child 
     applies for such status, or if the principal alien includes 
     the spouse or minor child in an application for adjustment of 
     status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
       (B) Treatment of spouses and minor children prior to 
     adjustment of status.--A spouse and minor child of an alien 
     granted temporary resident status under subsection (a) may 
     not be--
       (i) removed while such alien maintains such status; and
       (ii) granted authorization to engage in employment in the 
     United States or be provided an ``employment authorized'' 
     endorsement or other work permit, unless such employment 
     authorization is granted under another provision of law.
       (d) Applications.--
       (1) To whom may be made.--
       (A) Within the united states.--The Secretary shall provide 
     that--
       (i) applications for temporary resident status under 
     subsection (a) may be filed--

       (I) with the Secretary, but only if the applicant is 
     represented by an attorney; or
       (II) with a qualified designated entity (designated under 
     paragraph (2)), but only if the applicant consents to the 
     forwarding of the application to the Secretary; and

       (ii) applications for adjustment of status under subsection 
     (c) shall be filed directly with the Secretary.
       (B) Outside the united states.--The Secretary, in 
     cooperation with the Secretary of State, shall establish a 
     procedure whereby an alien may apply for temporary resident 
     status under subsection (a) at an appropriate consular office 
     outside the United States.
       (C) Preliminary applications.--
       (i) In general.--During the application period described in 
     subsection (a)(1)(B), the Secretary may grant admission to 
     the United States as a temporary resident and provide an 
     ``employment authorized'' endorsement or other appropriate 
     work permit to any alien who presents a preliminary 
     application for such status under subsection (a) at a 
     designated port of entry on the southern

[[Page S11847]]

     land border of the United States. An alien who does not enter 
     through a port of entry is subject to deportation and removal 
     as otherwise provided in this Act.
       (ii) Definition.--For purposes of clause (i), the term 
     ``preliminary application'' means a fully completed and 
     signed application which contains specific information 
     concerning the performance of qualifying employment in the 
     United States, together with the payment of the appropriate 
     fee and the submission of photographs and the documentary 
     evidence which the applicant intends to submit as proof of 
     such employment.
       (iii) Eligibility.--An applicant under clause (i) must be 
     otherwise admissible to the United States under subsection 
     (e)(2) and must establish to the satisfaction of the 
     examining officer during an interview that the applicant's 
     claim to eligibility for temporary resident status is 
     credible.
       (D) Travel documentation.--The Secretary shall provide each 
     alien granted status under this section with a counterfeit-
     resistant document of authorization to enter or reenter the 
     United States that meets the requirements established by the 
     Secretary.
       (2) Designation of entities to receive applications.--
       (A) In general.--For purposes of receiving applications 
     under subsection (a), the Secretary--
       (i) shall designate qualified farm labor organizations and 
     associations of employers; and
       (ii) may designate such other persons as the Secretary 
     determines are qualified and have substantial experience, 
     demonstrate competence, and have traditional long-term 
     involvement in the preparation and submittal of applications 
     for adjustment of status under section 209, 210, or 245 of 
     the Immigration and Nationality Act, Public Law 89-732, 
     Public Law 95-145, or the Immigration Reform and Control Act 
     of 1986.
       (B) References.--Organizations, associations, and persons 
     designated under subparagraph (A) are referred to in this Act 
     as ``qualified designated entities''.
       (3) Proof of eligibility.--
       (A) In general.--An alien may establish that the alien 
     meets the requirement of subsection (a)(1)(A) or subsection 
     (c)(1)(A) through government employment records or records 
     supplied by employers or collective bargaining organizations, 
     and other reliable documentation as the alien may provide. 
     The Secretary shall establish special procedures to properly 
     credit work in cases in which an alien was employed under an 
     assumed name.
       (B) Documentation of work history.--(i) An alien applying 
     for status under subsection (a)(1) or subsection (c)(1) has 
     the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that 
     the alien has worked the requisite number of hours or days 
     (as required under subsection (a)(1)(A) or subsection 
     (c)(1)(A)).
       (ii) If an employer or farm labor contractor employing such 
     an alien has kept proper and adequate records respecting such 
     employment, the alien's burden of proof under clause (i) may 
     be met by securing timely production of those records under 
     regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary.
       (iii) An alien can meet such burden of proof if the alien 
     establishes that the alien has in fact performed the work 
     described in subsection (a)(1)(A) or subsection (c)(1)(A) by 
     producing sufficient evidence to show the extent of that 
     employment as a matter of just and reasonable inference.
       (4) Treatment of applications by qualified designated 
     entities.--Each qualified designated entity must agree to 
     forward to the Secretary applications filed with it in 
     accordance with paragraph (1)(A)(i)(II) but not to forward to 
     the Secretary applications filed with it unless the applicant 
     has consented to such forwarding. No such entity may make a 
     determination required by this section to be made by the 
     Secretary. Upon the request of the alien, a qualified 
     designated entity shall assist the alien in obtaining 
     documentation of the work history of the alien.
       (5) Limitation on access to information.--Files and records 
     prepared for purposes of this subsection by qualified 
     designated entities operating under this subsection are 
     confidential and the Secretary shall not have access to such 
     files or records relating to an alien without the consent of 
     the alien, except as allowed by a court order issued pursuant 
     to paragraph (6).
       (6) Confidentiality of information.--
       (A) In general.--Except as otherwise provided in this 
     subsection, neither the Secretary, nor any other official or 
     employee of the Department of Homeland Security, or bureau or 
     agency thereof, may--
       (i) use the information furnished by the applicant pursuant 
     to an application filed under this section, the information 
     provided to the applicant by a person designated under 
     paragraph (2)(A), or any information provided by an employer 
     or former employer, for any purpose other than to make a 
     determination on the application, or for enforcement of 
     paragraph (7);
       (ii) make any publication whereby the information furnished 
     by any particular individual can be identified; or
       (iii) permit anyone other than the sworn officers and 
     employees of the Department of Homeland Security, or bureau 
     or agency thereof, or, with respect to applications filed 
     with a qualified designated entity, that qualified designated 
     entity, to examine individual applications.
       (B) Crime.--Whoever knowingly uses, publishes, or permits 
     information to be examined in violation of this paragraph 
     shall be fined not more than $10,000.
       (7) Penalties for false statements in applications.--
       (A) Criminal penalty.--Whoever--
       (i) files an application for status under subsection (a) or 
     (c) and knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or 
     covers up a material fact or makes any false, fictitious, or 
     fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses 
     any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any 
     false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; or
       (ii) creates or supplies a false writing or document for 
     use in making such an application;

     shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States 
     Code, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
       (B) Inadmissibility.--An alien who is convicted of a crime 
     under subparagraph (A) shall be considered to be inadmissible 
     to the United States on the ground described in section 
     212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
     U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)(i)).
       (8) Eligibility for legal services.--Section 504(a)(11) of 
     Public Law 104-134 (110 Stat. 1321-53 et seq.) shall not be 
     construed to prevent a recipient of funds under the Legal 
     Services Corporation Act (42 U.S.C. 2996 et seq.) from 
     providing legal assistance directly related to an application 
     for adjustment of status under this section.
       (9) Application fees.--
       (A) Fee schedule.--The Secretary shall provide for a 
     schedule of fees that--
       (i) shall be charged for the filing of applications for 
     status under subsections (a) and (c); and
       (ii) may be charged by qualified designated entities to 
     help defray the costs of services provided to such 
     applicants.
       (B) Prohibition on excess fees by qualified designated 
     entities.--A qualified designated entity may not charge any 
     fee in excess of, or in addition to, the fees authorized 
     under subparagraph (A)(ii) for services provided to 
     applicants.
       (C) Disposition of fees.--
       (i) In general.--There is established in the general fund 
     of the Treasury a separate account, which shall be known as 
     the ``Agricultural Worker Immigration Status Adjustment 
     Account''. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, there 
     shall be deposited as offsetting receipts into the account 
     all fees collected under subparagraph (A)(i).
       (ii) Use of fees for application processing.--Amounts 
     deposited in the ``Agricultural Worker Immigration Status 
     Adjustment Account'' shall remain available to the Secretary 
     until expended for processing applications for status under 
     subsections (a) and (c).
       (e) Waiver of Numerical Limitations and Certain Grounds for 
     Inadmissibility.--
       (1) Numerical limitations do not apply.--The numerical 
     limitations of sections 201 and 202 of the Immigration and 
     Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151 and 1152) shall not apply to 
     the adjustment of aliens to lawful permanent resident status 
     under this section.
       (2) Waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.--In the 
     determination of an alien's eligibility for status under 
     subsection (a)(1)(C) or an alien's eligibility for adjustment 
     of status under subsection (c)(1)(B)(ii)(I), the following 
     rules shall apply:
       (A) Grounds of exclusion not applicable.--The provisions of 
     paragraphs (5), (6)(A), (7)(A), and (9)(B) of section 212(a) 
     of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)) 
     shall not apply.
       (B) Waiver of other grounds.--
       (i) In general.--Except as provided in clause (ii), the 
     Secretary may waive any other provision of such section 
     212(a) in the case of individual aliens for humanitarian 
     purposes, to ensure family unity, or when it is otherwise in 
     the public interest.
       (ii) Grounds that may not be waived.--The following 
     provisions of such section 212(a) may not be waived by the 
     Secretary under clause (i):

       (I) Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) (relating to 
     criminals).
       (II) Paragraph (4) (relating to aliens likely to become 
     public charges).
       (III) Paragraph (2)(C) (relating to drug offenses).
       (IV) Paragraph (3) (relating to security and related 
     grounds).

       (iii) Construction.--Nothing in this subparagraph shall be 
     construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary other 
     than under this subparagraph to waive provisions of such 
     section 212(a).
       (C) Special rule for determination of public charge.--An 
     alien is not ineligible for status under this section by 
     reason of a ground of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(4) 
     of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4)) 
     if the alien demonstrates a history of employment in the 
     United States evidencing self-support without reliance on 
     public cash assistance.
       (f) Temporary Stay of Removal and Work Authorization for 
     Certain Applicants.--
       (1) Before application period.--Effective on the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall provide that, in 
     the case of an alien who is apprehended before the beginning 
     of the application period described in subsection (a)(1)(B) 
     and who can establish a nonfrivolous case of eligibility for 
     temporary resident status under subsection (a) (but for the 
     fact that the alien may not apply for such status until the 
     beginning of

[[Page S11848]]

     such period), until the alien has had the opportunity during 
     the first 30 days of the application period to complete the 
     filing of an application for temporary resident status, the 
     alien--
       (A) may not be removed; and
       (B) shall be granted authorization to engage in employment 
     in the United States and be provided an ``employment 
     authorized'' endorsement or other appropriate work permit for 
     such purpose.
       (2) During application period.--The Secretary shall provide 
     that, in the case of an alien who presents a nonfrivolous 
     application for temporary resident status under subsection 
     (a) during the application period described in subsection 
     (a)(1)(B), including an alien who files such an application 
     within 30 days of the alien's apprehension, and until a final 
     determination on the application has been made in accordance 
     with this section, the alien--
       (A) may not be removed; and
       (B) shall be granted authorization to engage in employment 
     in the United States and be provided an ``employment 
     authorized'' endorsement or other appropriate work permit for 
     such purpose.
       (g) Administrative and Judicial Review.--
       (1) In general.--There shall be no administrative or 
     judicial review of a determination respecting an application 
     for status under subsection (a) or (c) except in accordance 
     with this subsection.
       (2) Administrative review.--
       (A) Single level of administrative appellate review.--The 
     Secretary shall establish an appellate authority to provide 
     for a single level of administrative appellate review of such 
     a determination.
       (B) Standard for review.--Such administrative appellate 
     review shall be based solely upon the administrative record 
     established at the time of the determination on the 
     application and upon such additional or newly discovered 
     evidence as may not have been available at the time of the 
     determination.
       (3) Judicial review.--
       (A) Limitation to review of removal.--There shall be 
     judicial review of such a determination only in the judicial 
     review of an order of removal under section 242 of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1252).
       (B) Standard for judicial review.--Such judicial review 
     shall be based solely upon the administrative record 
     established at the time of the review by the appellate 
     authority and the findings of fact and determinations 
     contained in such record shall be conclusive unless the 
     applicant can establish abuse of discretion or that the 
     findings are directly contrary to clear and convincing facts 
     contained in the record considered as a whole.
       (h) Dissemination of Information on Adjustment Program.--
     Beginning not later than the 1st day of the application 
     period described in subsection (a)(1)(B), the Secretary, in 
     cooperation with qualified designated entities, shall broadly 
     disseminate information respecting the benefits that aliens 
     may receive under this section and the requirements to be 
     satisfied to obtain such benefits.
       (i) Regulations.--The Secretary shall issue regulations to 
     implement this section not later than the 1st day of the 7th 
     month that begins after the date of enactment of this Act.
       (j) Effective Date.--This section shall take effect on the 
     date that regulations are issued implementing this section on 
     an interim or other basis.
       (k) Funding.--There are hereby appropriated, out of any 
     money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $40,000,000 
     for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2007 to the Secretary 
     to carry out this section.

     SEC. 102. CORRECTION OF SOCIAL SECURITY RECORDS.

       (a) In General.--Section 208(d)(1) of the Social Security 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 408(d)(1)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking ``or'' at the end;
       (2) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ``or'' at the end;
       (3) by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:
       ``(D) who is granted status as a lawful temporary resident 
     under the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and 
     Security Act of 2003,''; and
       (4) by striking ``1990.'' and inserting ``1990, or in the 
     case of an alien described in subparagraph (D), if such 
     conduct is alleged to have occurred prior to the date on 
     which the alien was granted lawful temporary resident 
     status.''.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) 
     shall take effect on the 1st day of the 7th month that begins 
     after the date of enactment of this Act.

                TITLE II--REFORM OF H-2A WORKER PROGRAM

     SEC. 201. AMENDMENT TO THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT.

       (a) In General.--The Immigration and Nationality Act is 
     amended by striking section 218 (8 U.S.C. 1188) and inserting 
     the following:


                      ``H-2A EMPLOYER APPLICATIONS

       ``Sec. 218. (a) Applications to the Secretary of Labor.--
       ``(1) In general.--No alien may be admitted to the United 
     States as an H-2A worker, or otherwise provided status as an 
     H-2A worker, unless the employer has filed with the Secretary 
     of Labor an application containing--
       ``(A) the assurances described in subsection (b);
       ``(B) a description of the nature and location of the work 
     to be performed;
       ``(C) the anticipated period (expected beginning and ending 
     dates) for which the workers will be needed; and
       ``(D) the number of job opportunities in which the employer 
     seeks to employ the workers.
       ``(2) Accompanied by job offer.--Each application filed 
     under paragraph (1) shall be accompanied by a copy of the job 
     offer describing the wages and other terms and conditions of 
     employment and the bona fide occupational qualifications that 
     must be possessed by a worker to be employed in the job 
     opportunity in question.
       ``(b) Assurances for Inclusion in Applications.--The 
     assurances referred to in subsection (a)(1) are the 
     following:
       ``(1) Job opportunities covered by collective bargaining 
     agreements.--With respect to a job opportunity that is 
     covered under a collective bargaining agreement:
       ``(A) Union contract described.--The job opportunity is 
     covered by a union contract which was negotiated at arm's 
     length between a bona fide union and the employer.
       ``(B) Strike or lockout.--The specific job opportunity for 
     which the employer is requesting an H-2A worker is not vacant 
     because the former occupant is on strike or being locked out 
     in the course of a labor dispute.
       ``(C) Notification of bargaining representatives.--The 
     employer, at the time of filing the application, has provided 
     notice of the filing under this paragraph to the bargaining 
     representative of the employer's employees in the 
     occupational classification at the place or places of 
     employment for which aliens are sought.
       ``(D) Temporary or seasonal job opportunities.--The job 
     opportunity is temporary or seasonal.
       ``(E) Offers to united states workers.--The employer has 
     offered or will offer the job to any eligible United States 
     worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the 
     job for which the nonimmigrant is, or the nonimmigrants are, 
     sought and who will be available at the time and place of 
     need.
       ``(F) Provision of insurance.--If the job opportunity is 
     not covered by the State workers' compensation law, the 
     employer will provide, at no cost to the worker, insurance 
     covering injury and disease arising out of, and in the course 
     of, the worker's employment which will provide benefits at 
     least equal to those provided under the State's workers' 
     compensation law for comparable employment.
       ``(2) Job opportunities not covered by collective 
     bargaining agreements.--With respect to a job opportunity 
     that is not covered under a collective bargaining agreement:
       ``(A) Strike or lockout.--The specific job opportunity for 
     which the employer is requesting an H-2A worker is not vacant 
     because the former occupant is on strike or being locked out 
     in the course of a labor dispute.
       ``(B) Temporary or seasonal job opportunities.--The job 
     opportunity is temporary or seasonal.
       ``(C) Benefit, wage, and working conditions.--The employer 
     will provide, at a minimum, the benefits, wages, and working 
     conditions required by section 218A to all workers employed 
     in the job opportunities for which the employer has applied 
     under subsection (a) and to all other workers in the same 
     occupation at the place of employment.
       ``(D) Nondisplacement of united states workers.--The 
     employer did not displace and will not displace a United 
     States worker employed by the employer during the period of 
     employment and for a period of 30 days preceding the period 
     of employment in the occupation at the place of employment 
     for which the employer seeks approval to employ H-2A workers.
       ``(E) Requirements for placement of nonimmigrant with other 
     employers.--The employer will not place the nonimmigrant with 
     another employer unless--
       ``(i) the nonimmigrant performs duties in whole or in part 
     at 1 or more work sites owned, operated, or controlled by 
     such other employer;
       ``(ii) there are indicia of an employment relationship 
     between the nonimmigrant and such other employer; and
       ``(iii) the employer has inquired of the other employer as 
     to whether, and has no actual knowledge or notice that, 
     during the period of employment and for a period of 30 days 
     preceding the period of employment, the other employer has 
     displaced or intends to displace a United States worker 
     employed by the other employer in the occupation at the place 
     of employment for which the employer seeks approval to employ 
     H-2A workers.
       ``(F) Statement of liability.--The application form shall 
     include a clear statement explaining the liability under 
     subparagraph (E) of an employer if the other employer 
     described in such subparagraph displaces a United States 
     worker as described in such subparagraph.
       ``(G) Provision of insurance.--If the job opportunity is 
     not covered by the State workers' compensation law, the 
     employer will provide, at no cost to the worker, insurance 
     covering injury and disease arising out of and in the course 
     of the worker's employment which will provide benefits at 
     least equal to those provided under the State's workers' 
     compensation law for comparable employment.

[[Page S11849]]

       ``(H) Employment of united states workers.--
       ``(i) Recruitment.--The employer has taken or will take the 
     following steps to recruit United States workers for the job 
     opportunities for which the H-2A nonimmigrant is, or H-2A 
     nonimmigrants are, sought:

       ``(I) Contacting former workers.--The employer shall make 
     reasonable efforts through the sending of a letter by United 
     States Postal Service mail, or otherwise, to contact any 
     United States worker the employer employed during the 
     previous season in the occupation at the place of intended 
     employment for which the employer is applying for workers and 
     has made the availability of the employer's job opportunities 
     in the occupation at the place of intended employment known 
     to such previous workers, unless the worker was terminated 
     from employment by the employer for a lawful job-related 
     reason or abandoned the job before the worker completed the 
     period of employment of the job opportunity for which the 
     worker was hired.
       ``(II) Filing a job offer with the local office of the 
     state employment security agency.--Not later than 28 days 
     prior to the date on which the employer desires to employ an 
     H-2A worker in a temporary or seasonal agricultural job 
     opportunity, the employer shall submit a copy of the job 
     offer described in subsection (a)(2) to the local office of 
     the State employment security agency which serves the area of 
     intended employment and authorize the posting of the job 
     opportunity on `America's Job Bank' or other electronic job 
     registry, except that nothing in this subclause shall require 
     the employer to file an interstate job order under section 
     653 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations.
       ``(III) Advertising of job opportunities.--Not later than 
     14 days prior to the date on which the employer desires to 
     employ an H-2A worker in a temporary or seasonal agricultural 
     job opportunity, the employer shall advertise the 
     availability of the job opportunities for which the employer 
     is seeking workers in a publication in the local labor market 
     that is likely to be patronized by potential farm workers.
       ``(IV) Emergency procedures.--The Secretary of Labor shall, 
     by regulation, provide a procedure for acceptance and 
     approval of applications in which the employer has not 
     complied with the provisions of this subparagraph because the 
     employer's need for H-2A workers could not reasonably have 
     been foreseen.

       ``(ii) Job offers.--The employer has offered or will offer 
     the job to any eligible United States worker who applies and 
     is equally or better qualified for the job for which the 
     nonimmigrant is, or nonimmigrants are, sought and who will be 
     available at the time and place of need.
       ``(iii) Period of employment.--The employer will provide 
     employment to any qualified United States worker who applies 
     to the employer during the period beginning on the date on 
     which the foreign worker departs for the employer's place of 
     employment and ending on the date on which 50 percent of the 
     period of employment for which the foreign worker who is in 
     the job was hired has elapsed, subject to the following 
     requirements:

       ``(I) Prohibition.--No person or entity shall willfully and 
     knowingly withhold United States workers prior to the arrival 
     of H-2A workers in order to force the hiring of United States 
     workers under this clause.
       ``(II) Complaints.--Upon receipt of a complaint by an 
     employer that a violation of subclause (I) has occurred, the 
     Secretary of Labor shall immediately investigate. The 
     Secretary of Labor shall, within 36 hours of the receipt of 
     the complaint, issue findings concerning the alleged 
     violation. If the Secretary of Labor finds that a violation 
     has occurred, the Secretary of Labor shall immediately 
     suspend the application of this clause with respect to that 
     certification for that date of need.
       ``(III) Placement of united states workers.--Prior to 
     referring a United States worker to an employer during the 
     period described in the matter preceding subclause (I), the 
     Secretary of Labor shall make all reasonable efforts to place 
     the United States worker in an open job acceptable to the 
     worker, if there are other job offers pending with the job 
     service that offer similar job opportunities in the area of 
     intended employment.

       ``(iv) Statutory construction.--Nothing in this 
     subparagraph shall be construed to prohibit an employer from 
     using such legitimate selection criteria relevant to the type 
     of job that are normal or customary to the type of job 
     involved so long as such criteria are not applied in a 
     discriminatory manner.
       ``(c) Applications by Associations on Behalf of Employer 
     Members.--
       ``(1) In general.--An agricultural association may file an 
     application under subsection (a) on behalf of 1 or more of 
     its employer members that the association certifies in its 
     application has or have agreed in writing to comply with the 
     requirements of this section and sections 218A through 218C.
       ``(2) Treatment of associations acting as employers.--If an 
     association filing an application under paragraph (1) is a 
     joint or sole employer of the temporary or seasonal 
     agricultural workers requested on the application, the 
     certifications granted under subsection (e)(2)(B) to the 
     association may be used for the certified job opportunities 
     of any of its producer members named on the application, and 
     such workers may be transferred among such producer members 
     to perform the agricultural services of a temporary or 
     seasonal nature for which the certifications were granted.
       ``(d) Withdrawal of Applications.--
       ``(1) In general.--An employer may withdraw an application 
     filed pursuant to subsection (a), except that if the employer 
     is an agricultural association, the association may withdraw 
     an application filed pursuant to subsection (a) with respect 
     to 1 or more of its members. To withdraw an application, the 
     employer or association shall notify the Secretary of Labor 
     in writing, and the Secretary of Labor shall acknowledge in 
     writing the receipt of such withdrawal notice. An employer 
     who withdraws an application under subsection (a), or on 
     whose behalf an application is withdrawn, is relieved of the 
     obligations undertaken in the application.
       ``(2) Limitation.--An application may not be withdrawn 
     while any alien provided status under section 
     101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) pursuant to such application is employed 
     by the employer.
       ``(3) Obligations under other statutes.--Any obligation 
     incurred by an employer under any other law or regulation as 
     a result of the recruitment of United States workers or H-2A 
     workers under an offer of terms and conditions of employment 
     required as a result of making an application under 
     subsection (a) is unaffected by withdrawal of such 
     application.
       ``(e) Review and Approval of Applications.--
       ``(1) Responsibility of employers.--The employer shall make 
     available for public examination, within 1 working day after 
     the date on which an application under subsection (a) is 
     filed, at the employer's principal place of business or work 
     site, a copy of each such application (and such accompanying 
     documents as are necessary).
       ``(2) Responsibility of the secretary of labor.--
       ``(A) Compilation of list.--The Secretary of Labor shall 
     compile, on a current basis, a list (by employer and by 
     occupational classification) of the applications filed under 
     this subsection. Such list shall include the wage rate, 
     number of workers sought, period of intended employment, and 
     date of need. The Secretary of Labor shall make such list 
     available for examination in the District of Columbia.
       ``(B) Review of applications.--The Secretary of Labor shall 
     review such an application only for completeness and obvious 
     inaccuracies. Unless the Secretary of Labor finds that the 
     application is incomplete or obviously inaccurate, the 
     Secretary of Labor shall certify that the intending employer 
     has filed with the Secretary of Labor an application as 
     described in subsection (a). Such certification shall be 
     provided within 7 days of the filing of the application.


                     ``H-2A EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS

       ``Sec. 218A. (a) Preferential Treatment of Aliens 
     Prohibited.--Employers seeking to hire United States workers 
     shall offer the United States workers no less than the same 
     benefits, wages, and working conditions that the employer is 
     offering, intends to offer, or will provide to H-2A workers. 
     Conversely, no job offer may impose on United States workers 
     any restrictions or obligations which will not be imposed on 
     the employer's H-2A workers.
       ``(b) Minimum Benefits, Wages, and Working Conditions.--
     Except in cases where higher benefits, wages, or working 
     conditions are required by the provisions of subsection (a), 
     in order to protect similarly employed United States workers 
     from adverse effects with respect to benefits, wages, and 
     working conditions, every job offer which must accompany an 
     application under section 218 shall include each of the 
     following benefit, wage, and working condition provisions:
       ``(1) Requirement to provide housing or a housing 
     allowance.--
       ``(A) In general.--An employer applying under section 
     218(a) for H-2A workers shall offer to provide housing at no 
     cost to all workers in job opportunities for which the 
     employer has applied under that section and to all other 
     workers in the same occupation at the place of employment, 
     whose place of residence is beyond normal commuting distance.
       ``(B) Type of housing.--In complying with subparagraph (A), 
     an employer may, at the employer's election, provide housing 
     that meets applicable Federal standards for temporary labor 
     camps or secure housing that meets applicable local standards 
     for rental or public accommodation housing or other 
     substantially similar class of habitation, or in the absence 
     of applicable local standards, State standards for rental or 
     public accommodation housing or other substantially similar 
     class of habitation. In the absence of applicable local or 
     State standards, Federal temporary labor camp standards shall 
     apply.
       ``(C) Family housing.--When it is the prevailing practice 
     in the occupation and area of intended employment to provide 
     family housing, family housing shall be provided to workers 
     with families who request it.
       ``(D) Workers engaged in the range production of 
     livestock.--The Secretary of Labor shall issue regulations 
     that address the specific requirements for the provision of 
     housing to workers engaged in the range production of 
     livestock.
       ``(E) Limitation.--Nothing in this paragraph shall be 
     construed to require an employer to provide or secure housing 
     for persons who were not entitled to such housing under the 
     temporary labor certification regulations in effect on June 
     1, 1986.

[[Page S11850]]

       ``(F) Charges for housing.--
       ``(i) Charges for public housing.--If public housing 
     provided for migrant agricultural workers under the auspices 
     of a local, county, or State government is secured by an 
     employer, and use of the public housing unit normally 
     requires charges from migrant workers, such charges shall be 
     paid by the employer directly to the appropriate individual 
     or entity affiliated with the housing's management.
       ``(ii) Deposit charges.--Charges in the form of deposits 
     for bedding or other similar incidentals related to housing 
     shall not be levied upon workers by employers who provide 
     housing for their workers. However, an employer may require a 
     worker found to have been responsible for damage to such 
     housing which is not the result of normal wear and tear 
     related to habitation to reimburse the employer for the 
     reasonable cost of repair of such damage.
       ``(G) Housing allowance as alternative.--
       ``(i) In general.--In lieu of offering housing pursuant to 
     subparagraph (A), the employer may provide a reasonable 
     housing allowance, but only if the requirement of clause (ii) 
     is satisfied. Upon the request of a worker seeking assistance 
     in locating housing, the employer shall make a good faith 
     effort to assist the worker in identifying and locating 
     housing in the area of intended employment. An employer who 
     offers a housing allowance to a worker, or assists a worker 
     in locating housing which the worker occupies, pursuant to 
     this clause shall not be deemed a housing provider under 
     section 203 of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker 
     Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 1823) solely by virtue of providing 
     such housing allowance. However, no housing allowance may be 
     used for housing which is owned or controlled by the 
     employer.
       ``(ii) Certification.--The requirement of this clause is 
     satisfied if the Governor of the State certifies to the 
     Secretary of Labor that there is adequate housing available 
     in the area of intended employment for migrant farm workers, 
     and H-2A workers, who are seeking temporary housing while 
     employed at farm work. Such certification shall expire after 
     3 years unless renewed by the Governor of the State.
       ``(iii) Amount of allowance.--

       ``(I) Nonmetropolitan counties.--If the place of employment 
     of the workers provided an allowance under this subparagraph 
     is a nonmetropolitan county, the amount of the housing 
     allowance under this subparagraph shall be equal to the 
     statewide average fair market rental for existing housing for 
     nonmetropolitan counties for the State, as established by the 
     Secretary of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to 
     section 8(c) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 
     U.S.C. 1437f(c)), based on a 2-bedroom dwelling unit and an 
     assumption of 2 persons per bedroom.
       ``(II) Metropolitan counties.--If the place of employment 
     of the workers provided an allowance under this paragraph is 
     in a metropolitan county, the amount of the housing allowance 
     under this subparagraph shall be equal to the statewide 
     average fair market rental for existing housing for 
     metropolitan counties for the State, as established by the 
     Secretary of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to 
     section 8(c) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 
     U.S.C. 1437f(c)), based on a 2-bedroom dwelling unit and an 
     assumption of 2 persons per bedroom.

       ``(2) Reimbursement of transportation.--
       ``(A) To place of employment.--A worker who completes 50 
     percent of the period of employment of the job opportunity 
     for which the worker was hired shall be reimbursed by the 
     employer for the cost of the worker's transportation and 
     subsistence from the place from which the worker came to work 
     for the employer (or place of last employment, if the worker 
     traveled from such place) to the place of employment.
       ``(B) From place of employment.--A worker who completes the 
     period of employment for the job opportunity involved shall 
     be reimbursed by the employer for the cost of the worker's 
     transportation and subsistence from the place of employment 
     to the place from which the worker, disregarding intervening 
     employment, came to work for the employer, or to the place of 
     next employment, if the worker has contracted with a 
     subsequent employer who has not agreed to provide or pay for 
     the worker's transportation and subsistence to such 
     subsequent employer's place of employment.
       ``(C) Limitation.--
       ``(i) Amount of reimbursement.--Except as provided in 
     clause (ii), the amount of reimbursement provided under 
     subparagraph (A) or (B) to a worker or alien shall not exceed 
     the lesser of--

       ``(I) the actual cost to the worker or alien of the 
     transportation and subsistence involved; or
       ``(II) the most economical and reasonable common carrier 
     transportation charges and subsistence costs for the distance 
     involved.

       ``(ii) Distance traveled.--No reimbursement under 
     subparagraph (A) or (B) shall be required if the distance 
     traveled is 100 miles or less, or the worker is not residing 
     in employer-provided housing or housing secured through an 
     allowance as provided in paragraph (1)(G).
       ``(D) Early termination.--If the worker is laid off or 
     employment is terminated for contract impossibility (as 
     described in paragraph (4)(D)) before the anticipated ending 
     date of employment, the employer shall provide the 
     transportation and subsistence required by subparagraph (B) 
     and, notwithstanding whether the worker has completed 50 
     percent of the period of employment, shall provide the 
     transportation reimbursement required by subparagraph (A).
       ``(E) Transportation between living quarters and work 
     site.--The employer shall provide transportation between the 
     worker's living quarters (i.e., housing provided by the 
     employer pursuant to paragraph (1), including housing 
     provided through a housing allowance) and the employer's work 
     site without cost to the worker, and such transportation will 
     be in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
       ``(3) Required wages.--
       ``(A) In general.--An employer applying for workers under 
     section 218(a) shall offer to pay, and shall pay, all workers 
     in the occupation for which the employer has applied for 
     workers, not less (and is not required to pay more) than the 
     greater of the prevailing wage in the occupation in the area 
     of intended employment or the adverse effect wage rate. No 
     worker shall be paid less than the greater of the hourly wage 
     prescribed under section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards 
     Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1)) or the applicable State 
     minimum wage.
       ``(B) Limitation.--Effective on the date of enactment of 
     the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act 
     of 2003 and continuing for 3 years thereafter, no adverse 
     effect wage rate for a State may be more than the adverse 
     effect wage rate for that State in effect on January 1, 2003, 
     as established by section 655.107 of title 20, Code of 
     Federal Regulations.
       ``(C) Required wages after 3-year freeze.--
       ``(i) First adjustment.--Unless Congress acts to set a new 
     wage standard applicable to this section, effective on 
     December 1, 2006, the adverse effect wage rate then in effect 
     shall be adjusted by the 12 month percentage change in the 
     Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers between December 
     of the preceding year and December of the second preceding 
     year, except that such adjustment shall not exceed 4 percent.
       ``(ii) Subsequent annual adjustments.--Effective on March 
     1, 2007, and each March 1 thereafter, the adverse effect wage 
     rate then in effect shall be adjusted in accordance with the 
     requirements of clause (i).
       ``(D) Deductions.--The employer shall make only those 
     deductions from the worker's wages that are authorized by law 
     or are reasonable and customary in the occupation and area of 
     employment. The job offer shall specify all deductions not 
     required by law which the employer will make from the 
     worker's wages.
       ``(E) Frequency of pay.--The employer shall pay the worker 
     not less frequently than twice monthly, or in accordance with 
     the prevailing practice in the area of employment, whichever 
     is more frequent.
       ``(F) Hours and earnings statements.--The employer shall 
     furnish to the worker, on or before each payday, in one or 
     more written statements the following information:
       ``(i) The worker's total earnings for the pay period.
       ``(ii) The worker's hourly rate of pay, piece rate of pay, 
     or both.
       ``(iii) The hours of employment which have been offered to 
     the worker (broken out by hours offered in accordance with 
     and over and above the three-quarters guarantee described in 
     paragraph (4)).
       ``(iv) The hours actually worked by the worker.
       ``(v) An itemization of the deductions made from the 
     worker's wages.
       ``(vi) If piece rates of pay are used, the units produced 
     daily.
       ``(G) Report on wage protections.--Not later than June 1, 
     2007, the Resources, Community and Economic Development 
     Division, and the Health, Education and Human Services 
     Division, of the General Accounting Office shall jointly 
     prepare and transmit to the Secretary of Labor and to the 
     Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives 
     and the Senate a report which shall address--
       ``(i) whether the employment of H-2A or unauthorized aliens 
     in the United States agricultural work force has depressed 
     United States farm worker wages below the levels that would 
     otherwise have prevailed if alien farm workers had not been 
     employed in the United States;
       ``(ii) whether an adverse effect wage rate is necessary to 
     prevent wages of United States farm workers in occupations in 
     which H-2A workers are employed from falling below the wage 
     levels that would have prevailed in the absence of the 
     employment of H-2A workers in those occupations;
       ``(iii) whether alternative wage standards, such as a 
     prevailing wage standard, would be sufficient to prevent 
     wages in occupations in which H-2A workers are employed from 
     falling below the wage level that would have prevailed in the 
     absence of H-2A employment;
       ``(iv) whether any changes are warranted in the current 
     methodologies for calculating the adverse effect wage rate 
     and the prevailing wage; and
       ``(v) recommendations for future wage protection under this 
     section.
       ``(H) Commission on wage standards.--
       ``(i) Establishment.--There is established the Commission 
     on Agricultural Wage Standards under the H-2A program (in 
     this subparagraph referred to as the `Commission').
       ``(ii) Composition.--The Commission shall consist of 10 
     members as follows:

[[Page S11851]]

       ``(I) 4 representatives of agricultural employers and 1 
     representative of the Department of Agriculture, each 
     appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.
       ``(II) 4 representatives of agricultural workers and 1 
     representative of the Department of Labor, each appointed by 
     the Secretary of Labor.

       ``(iii) Functions.--The Commission shall conduct a study 
     that shall address--

       ``(I) whether the employment of H-2A or unauthorized aliens 
     in the United States agricultural workforce has depressed 
     United States farm worker wages below the levels that would 
     otherwise have prevailed if alien farm workers had not been 
     employed in the United States;
       ``(II) whether an adverse effect wage rate is necessary to 
     prevent wages of United States farm workers in occupations in 
     which H-2A workers are employed from falling below the wage 
     levels that would have prevailed in the absence of the 
     employment of H-2A workers in those occupations;
       ``(III) whether alternative wage standards, such as a 
     prevailing wage standard, would be sufficient to prevent 
     wages in occupations in which H-2A workers are employed from 
     falling below the wage level that would have prevailed in the 
     absence of H-2A employment;
       ``(IV) whether any changes are warranted in the current 
     methodologies for calculating the adverse effect wage rate 
     and the prevailing wage rate; and
       ``(V) recommendations for future wage protection under this 
     section.

       ``(iv) Final report.--Not later than June 1, 2007, the 
     Commission shall submit a report to the Congress setting 
     forth the findings of the study conducted under clause (iii).
       ``(v) Termination date.--The Commission shall terminate 
     upon submitting its final report.
       ``(4) Guarantee of employment.--
       ``(A) Offer to worker.--The employer shall guarantee to 
     offer the worker employment for the hourly equivalent of at 
     least three-fourths of the work days of the total period of 
     employment, beginning with the first work day after the 
     arrival of the worker at the place of employment and ending 
     on the expiration date specified in the job offer. For 
     purposes of this subparagraph, the hourly equivalent means 
     the number of hours in the work days as stated in the job 
     offer and shall exclude the worker's Sabbath and Federal 
     holidays. If the employer affords the United States or H-2A 
     worker less employment than that required under this 
     paragraph, the employer shall pay such worker the amount 
     which the worker would have earned had the worker, in fact, 
     worked for the guaranteed number of hours.
       ``(B) Failure to work.--Any hours which the worker fails to 
     work, up to a maximum of the number of hours specified in the 
     job offer for a work day, when the worker has been offered an 
     opportunity to do so, and all hours of work actually 
     performed (including voluntary work in excess of the number 
     of hours specified in the job offer in a work day, on the 
     worker's Sabbath, or on Federal holidays) may be counted by 
     the employer in calculating whether the period of guaranteed 
     employment has been met.
       ``(C) Abandonment of employment, termination for cause.--If 
     the worker voluntarily abandons employment before the end of 
     the contract period, or is terminated for cause, the worker 
     is not entitled to the `three-fourths guarantee' described in 
     subparagraph (A).
       ``(D) Contract impossibility.--If, before the expiration of 
     the period of employment specified in the job offer, the 
     services of the worker are no longer required for reasons 
     beyond the control of the employer due to any form of natural 
     disaster, including but not limited to a flood, hurricane, 
     freeze, earthquake, fire, drought, plant or animal disease or 
     pest infestation, or regulatory drought, before the guarantee 
     in subparagraph (A) is fulfilled, the employer may terminate 
     the worker's employment. In the event of such termination, 
     the employer shall fulfill the employment guarantee in 
     subparagraph (A) for the work days that have elapsed from the 
     first work day after the arrival of the worker to the 
     termination of employment. In such cases, the employer will 
     make efforts to transfer the United States worker to other 
     comparable employment acceptable to the worker. If such 
     transfer is not effected, the employer shall provide the 
     return transportation required in paragraph (2)(D).
       ``(5) Motor vehicle safety.--
       ``(A) Mode of transportation subject to coverage.--
       ``(i) In general.--Except as provided in clauses (iii) and 
     (iv), this subsection applies to any H-2A employer that uses 
     or causes to be used any vehicle to transport an H-2A worker 
     within the United States.
       ``(ii) Uses or causes to be used.--(I) In this subsection, 
     the term `uses or causes to be used' applies only to 
     transportation provided by an H-2A employer to an H-2A 
     worker, or by a farm labor contractor to an H-2A worker at 
     the request or direction of an H-2A employer.
       ``(II) The term `uses or causes to be used' does not apply 
     to--

       ``(aa) transportation provided, or transportation 
     arrangements made, by an H-2A worker himself or herself, 
     unless the employer specifically requested or arranged such 
     transportation; or
       ``(bb) carpooling arrangements made by H-2A workers 
     themselves, using one of the workers' own vehicles, unless 
     specifically requested by the employer directly or through a 
     farm labor contractor.

       ``(III) The mere providing of a job offer by an employer to 
     an H-2A worker that causes the worker to travel to or from 
     the place of employment, or the payment or reimbursement of 
     the transportation costs of an H-2A worker by an H-2A 
     employer, shall not constitute an arrangement of, or 
     participation in, such transportation.
       ``(iii) Agricultural machinery and equipment excluded.--
     This subsection does not apply to the transportation of an H-
     2A worker on a tractor, combine, harvester, picker, or other 
     similar machinery or equipment while such worker is actually 
     engaged in the planting, cultivating, or harvesting of 
     agricultural commodities or the care of livestock or poultry 
     or engaged in transportation incidental thereto.
       ``(iv) Common carriers excluded.--This subsection does not 
     apply to common carrier motor vehicle transportation in which 
     the provider holds itself out to the general public as 
     engaging in the transportation of passengers for hire and 
     holds a valid certification of authorization for such 
     purposes from an appropriate Federal, State, or local agency.
       ``(B) Applicability of standards, licensing, and insurance 
     requirements.--
       ``(i) In general.--When using, or causing to be used, any 
     vehicle for the purpose of providing transportation to which 
     this subparagraph applies, each employer shall--

       ``(I) ensure that each such vehicle conforms to the 
     standards prescribed by the Secretary of Labor under section 
     401(b) of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker 
     Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 1841(b)) and other applicable 
     Federal and State safety standards;
       ``(II) ensure that each driver has a valid and appropriate 
     license, as provided by State law, to operate the vehicle; 
     and
       ``(III) have an insurance policy or a liability bond that 
     is in effect which insures the employer against liability for 
     damage to persons or property arising from the ownership, 
     operation, or causing to be operated, of any vehicle used to 
     transport any H-2A worker.

       ``(ii) Amount of insurance required.--The level of 
     insurance required shall be determined by the Secretary of 
     Labor pursuant to regulations to be issued under this 
     subsection.
       ``(iii) Effect of workers' compensation coverage.--If the 
     employer of any H-2A worker provides workers' compensation 
     coverage for such worker in the case of bodily injury or 
     death as provided by State law, the following adjustments in 
     the requirements of subparagraph (B)(i)(III) relating to 
     having an insurance policy or liability bond apply:

       ``(I) No insurance policy or liability bond shall be 
     required of the employer, if such workers are transported 
     only under circumstances for which there is coverage under 
     such State law.
       ``(II) An insurance policy or liability bond shall be 
     required of the employer for circumstances under which 
     coverage for the transportation of such workers is not 
     provided under such State law.

       ``(c) Compliance With Labor Laws.--An employer shall assure 
     that, except as otherwise provided in this section, the 
     employer will comply with all applicable Federal, State, and 
     local labor laws, including laws affecting migrant and 
     seasonal agricultural workers, with respect to all United 
     States workers and alien workers employed by the employer, 
     except that a violation of this assurance shall not 
     constitute a violation of the Migrant and Seasonal 
     Agricultural Worker Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
       ``(d) Copy of Job Offer.--The employer shall provide to the 
     worker, not later than the day the work commences, a copy of 
     the employer's application and job offer described in section 
     218(a), or, if the employer will require the worker to enter 
     into a separate employment contract covering the employment 
     in question, such separate employment contract.
       ``(e) Range Production of Livestock.--Nothing in this 
     section or sections 218 or 218B shall preclude the Secretary 
     of Labor and the Secretary from continuing to apply special 
     procedures and requirements to the admission and employment 
     of aliens in occupations involving the range production of 
     livestock.


    ``PROCEDURE FOR ADMISSION AND EXTENSION OF STAY OF H-2A WORKERS

       ``Sec. 218B. (a) Petitioning for Admission.--An employer, 
     or an association acting as an agent or joint employer for 
     its members, that seeks the admission into the United States 
     of an H-2A worker may file a petition with the Secretary. The 
     petition shall be accompanied by an accepted and currently 
     valid certification provided by the Secretary of Labor under 
     section 218(e)(2)(B) covering the petitioner.
       ``(b) Expedited Adjudication by the Secretary.--The 
     Secretary shall establish a procedure for expedited 
     adjudication of petitions filed under subsection (a) and 
     within 7 working days shall, by fax, cable, or other means 
     assuring expedited delivery, transmit a copy of notice of 
     action on the petition to the petitioner and, in the case of 
     approved petitions, to the appropriate immigration officer at 
     the port of entry or United States consulate (as the case may 
     be) where the petitioner has indicated that the alien 
     beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will apply for a visa or 
     admission to the United States.
       ``(c) Criteria for Admissibility.--
       ``(1) In general.--An H-2A worker shall be considered 
     admissible to the United States if

[[Page S11852]]

     the alien is otherwise admissible under this section, section 
     218, and section 218A, and the alien is not ineligible under 
     paragraph (2).
       ``(2) Disqualification.--An alien shall be considered 
     inadmissible to the United States and ineligible for 
     nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) if the 
     alien has, at any time during the past 5 years--
       ``(A) violated a material provision of this section, 
     including the requirement to promptly depart the United 
     States when the alien's authorized period of admission under 
     this section has expired; or
       ``(B) otherwise violated a term or condition of admission 
     into the United States as a nonimmigrant, including 
     overstaying the period of authorized admission as such a 
     nonimmigrant.
       ``(3) Waiver of ineligibility for unlawful presence.--
       ``(A) In general.--An alien who has not previously been 
     admitted into the United States pursuant to this section, and 
     who is otherwise eligible for admission in accordance with 
     paragraphs (1) and (2), shall not be deemed inadmissible by 
     virtue of section 212(a)(9)(B). If an alien described in the 
     preceding sentence is present in the United States, the alien 
     may apply from abroad for H-2A status, but may not be granted 
     that status in the United States.
       ``(B) Maintenance of waiver.--An alien provided an initial 
     waiver of ineligibility pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall 
     remain eligible for such waiver unless the alien violates the 
     terms of this section or again becomes ineligible under 
     section 212(a)(9)(B) by virtue of unlawful presence in the 
     United States after the date of the initial waiver of 
     ineligibility pursuant to subparagraph (A).
       ``(d) Period of Admission.--
       ``(1) In general.--The alien shall be admitted for the 
     period of employment in the application certified by the 
     Secretary of Labor pursuant to section 218(e)(2)(B), not to 
     exceed 10 months, supplemented by a period of up to 1 week 
     before the beginning of the period of employment (to be 
     granted for the purpose of travel to the work site) and a 
     period of 14 days following the period of employment (to be 
     granted for the purpose of departure or extension based on a 
     subsequent offer of employment), except that--
       ``(A) the alien is not authorized to be employed during 
     such 14-day period except in the employment for which the 
     alien was previously authorized; and
       ``(B) the total period of employment, including such 14-day 
     period, may not exceed 10 months.
       ``(2) Construction.--Nothing in this subsection shall limit 
     the authority of the Secretary to extend the stay of the 
     alien under any other provision of this Act.
       ``(e) Abandonment of Employment.--
       ``(1) In general.--An alien admitted or provided status 
     under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) who abandons the 
     employment which was the basis for such admission or status 
     shall be considered to have failed to maintain nonimmigrant 
     status as an H-2A worker and shall depart the United States 
     or be subject to removal under section 237(a)(1)(C)(i).
       ``(2) Report by employer.--The employer (or association 
     acting as agent for the employer) shall notify the Secretary 
     within 7 days of an H-2A worker's having prematurely 
     abandoned employment.
       ``(3) Removal by the secretary.--The Secretary shall 
     promptly remove from the United States any H-2A worker who 
     violates any term or condition of the worker's nonimmigrant 
     status.
       ``(4) Voluntary termination.--Notwithstanding paragraph 
     (1), an alien may voluntarily terminate his or her employment 
     if the alien promptly departs the United States upon 
     termination of such employment.
       ``(f) Replacement of Alien.--
       ``(1) In general.--Upon presentation of the notice to the 
     Secretary required by subsection (e)(2), the Secretary of 
     State shall promptly issue a visa to, and the Secretary shall 
     admit into the United States, an eligible alien designated by 
     the employer to replace an H-2A worker--
       ``(A) who abandons or prematurely terminates employment; or
       ``(B) whose employment is terminated after a United States 
     worker is employed pursuant to section 218(b)(2)(H)(iii), if 
     the United States worker voluntarily departs before the end 
     of the period of intended employment or if the employment 
     termination is for a lawful job-related reason.
       ``(2) Construction.--Nothing in this subsection is intended 
     to limit any preference required to be accorded United States 
     workers under any other provision of this Act.
       ``(g) Identification Document.--
       ``(1) In general.--Each alien authorized to be admitted 
     under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) shall be provided an 
     identification and employment eligibility document to verify 
     eligibility for employment in the United States and verify 
     such person's proper identity.
       ``(2) Requirements.--No identification and employment 
     eligibility document may be issued which does not meet the 
     following requirements:
       ``(A) The document shall be capable of reliably determining 
     whether--
       ``(i) the individual with the identification and employment 
     eligibility document whose eligibility is being verified is 
     in fact eligible for employment;
       ``(ii) the individual whose eligibility is being verified 
     is claiming the identity of another person; and
       ``(iii) the individual whose eligibility is being verified 
     is authorized to be admitted into, and employed in, the 
     United States as an H-2A worker.
       ``(B) The document shall be in a form that is resistant to 
     counterfeiting and to tampering.
       ``(C) The document shall--
       ``(i) be compatible with other databases of the Secretary 
     for the purpose of excluding aliens from benefits for which 
     they are not eligible and determining whether the alien is 
     unlawfully present in the United States; and
       ``(ii) be compatible with law enforcement databases to 
     determine if the alien has been convicted of criminal 
     offenses.
       ``(h) Extension of Stay of H-2A Aliens in the United 
     States.--
       ``(1) Extension of stay.--If an employer seeks approval to 
     employ an H-2A alien who is lawfully present in the United 
     States, the petition filed by the employer or an association 
     pursuant to subsection (a), shall request an extension of the 
     alien's stay and a change in the alien's employment.
       ``(2) Limitation on filing a petition for extension of 
     stay.--A petition may not be filed for an extension of an 
     alien's stay--
       ``(A) for a period of more than 10 months; or
       ``(B) to a date that is more than 3 years after the date of 
     the alien's last admission to the United States under this 
     section.
       ``(3) Work authorization upon filing a petition for 
     extension of stay.--In the case of an alien who is lawfully 
     present in the United States, the alien is authorized to 
     commence the employment described in a petition under 
     paragraph (1) on the date on which the petition is filed. For 
     purposes of the preceding sentence, the term `file' means 
     sending the petition by certified mail via the United States 
     Postal Service, return receipt requested, or delivered by 
     guaranteed commercial delivery which will provide the 
     employer with a documented acknowledgment of the date of 
     receipt of the petition. The employer shall provide a copy of 
     the employer's petition to the alien, who shall keep the 
     petition with the alien's identification and employment 
     eligibility document as evidence that the petition has been 
     filed and that the alien is authorized to work in the United 
     States. Upon approval of a petition for an extension of stay 
     or change in the alien's authorized employment, the Secretary 
     shall provide a new or updated employment eligibility 
     document to the alien indicating the new validity date, after 
     which the alien is not required to retain a copy of the 
     petition.
       ``(4) Limitation on employment authorization of aliens 
     without valid identification and employment eligibility 
     document.--An expired identification and employment 
     eligibility document, together with a copy of a petition for 
     extension of stay or change in the alien's authorized 
     employment that complies with the requirements of paragraph 
     (1), shall constitute a valid work authorization document for 
     a period of not more than 60 days beginning on the date on 
     which such petition is filed, after which time only a 
     currently valid identification and employment eligibility 
     document shall be acceptable.
       ``(5) Limitation on an individual's stay in status.--
       ``(A) Maximum period.--The maximum continuous period of 
     authorized status as an H-2A worker (including any 
     extensions) is 3 years.
       ``(B) Requirement to remain outside the united states.--
       ``(i) In general.--Subject to clause (ii), in the case of 
     an alien outside the United States whose period of authorized 
     status as an H-2A worker (including any extensions) has 
     expired, the alien may not again apply for admission to the 
     United States as an H-2A worker unless the alien has remained 
     outside the United States for a continuous period equal to at 
     least \1/5\ the duration of the alien's previous period of 
     authorized status as an H-2A worker (including any 
     extensions).
       ``(ii) Exception.--Clause (i) shall not apply in the case 
     of an alien if the alien's period of authorized status as an 
     H-2A worker (including any extensions) was for a period of 
     not more than 10 months and such alien has been outside the 
     United States for at least 2 months during the 12 months 
     preceding the date the alien again is applying for admission 
     to the United States as an H-2A worker.
       ``(i) Special Rules for Aliens Employed as Sheepherders.--
     Notwithstanding any other provision of the Agricultural Job 
     Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2003, aliens 
     admitted under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) for employment as 
     sheepherders--
       ``(1) may be admitted for a period of 12 months;
       ``(2) may be extended for a continuous period of up to 3 
     years; and
       ``(3) shall not be subject to the requirements of 
     subsection (h)(5) relating to periods of absence from the 
     United States.


          ``WORKER PROTECTIONS AND LABOR STANDARDS ENFORCEMENT

       ``Sec. 218C. (a) Enforcement Authority.--
       ``(1) Investigation of complaints.--
       ``(A) Aggrieved person or third-party complaints.--The 
     Secretary of Labor shall establish a process for the receipt, 
     investigation, and disposition of complaints respecting a 
     petitioner's failure to meet a condition specified in section 
     218(b), or an employer's misrepresentation of material facts 
     in an application under section 218(a). Complaints may be 
     filed by any aggrieved person or organization (including 
     bargaining representatives). No investigation or hearing 
     shall be

[[Page S11853]]

     conducted on a complaint concerning such a failure or 
     misrepresentation unless the complaint was filed not later 
     than 12 months after the date of the failure, or 
     misrepresentation, respectively. The Secretary of Labor shall 
     conduct an investigation under this subparagraph if there is 
     reasonable cause to believe that such a failure or 
     misrepresentation has occurred.
       ``(B) Determination on complaint.--Under such process, the 
     Secretary of Labor shall provide, within 30 days after the 
     date such a complaint is filed, for a determination as to 
     whether or not a reasonable basis exists to make a finding 
     described in subparagraph (C), (D), (E), or (H). If the 
     Secretary of Labor determines that such a reasonable basis 
     exists, the Secretary of Labor shall provide for notice of 
     such determination to the interested parties and an 
     opportunity for a hearing on the complaint, in accordance 
     with section 556 of title 5, United States Code, within 60 
     days after the date of the determination. If such a hearing 
     is requested, the Secretary of Labor shall make a finding 
     concerning the matter not later than 60 days after the date 
     of the hearing. In the case of similar complaints respecting 
     the same applicant, the Secretary of Labor may consolidate 
     the hearings under this subparagraph on such complaints.
       ``(C) Failures to meet conditions.--If the Secretary of 
     Labor finds, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, a 
     failure to meet a condition of paragraph (1)(A), (1)(B), 
     (1)(D), (1)(F), (2)(A), (2)(B), or (2)(G) of section 218(b), 
     a substantial failure to meet a condition of paragraph 
     (1)(C), (1)(E), (2)(C), (2)(D), (2)(E), or (2)(H) of section 
     218(b), or a material misrepresentation of fact in an 
     application under section 218(a)--
       ``(i) the Secretary of Labor shall notify the Secretary of 
     such finding and may, in addition, impose such other 
     administrative remedies (including civil money penalties in 
     an amount not to exceed $1,000 per violation) as the 
     Secretary of Labor determines to be appropriate; and
       ``(ii) the Secretary may disqualify the employer from the 
     employment of aliens described in section 
     101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) for a period of 1 year.
       ``(D) Willful failures and willful misrepresentations.--If 
     the Secretary of Labor finds, after notice and opportunity 
     for hearing, a willful failure to meet a condition of section 
     218(b), a willful misrepresentation of a material fact in an 
     application under section 218(a), or a violation of 
     subsection (d)(1)--
       ``(i) the Secretary of Labor shall notify the Secretary of 
     such finding and may, in addition, impose such other 
     administrative remedies (including civil money penalties in 
     an amount not to exceed $5,000 per violation) as the 
     Secretary of Labor determines to be appropriate;
       ``(ii) the Secretary of Labor may seek appropriate legal or 
     equitable relief to effectuate the purposes of subsection 
     (d)(1); and
       ``(iii) the Secretary may disqualify the employer from the 
     employment of H-2A workers for a period of 2 years.
       ``(E) Displacement of united states workers.--If the 
     Secretary of Labor finds, after notice and opportunity for 
     hearing, a willful failure to meet a condition of section 
     218(b) or a willful misrepresentation of a material fact in 
     an application under section 218(a), in the course of which 
     failure or misrepresentation the employer displaced a United 
     States worker employed by the employer during the period of 
     employment on the employer's application under section 218(a) 
     or during the period of 30 days preceding such period of 
     employment--
       ``(i) the Secretary of Labor shall notify the Secretary of 
     such finding and may, in addition, impose such other 
     administrative remedies (including civil money penalties in 
     an amount not to exceed $15,000 per violation) as the 
     Secretary of Labor determines to be appropriate; and
       ``(ii) the Secretary may disqualify the employer from the 
     employment of H-2A workers for a period of 3 years.
       ``(F) Limitations on civil money penalties.--The Secretary 
     of Labor shall not impose total civil money penalties with 
     respect to an application under section 218(a) in excess of 
     $90,000.
       ``(G) Failures to pay wages or required benefits.--If the 
     Secretary of Labor finds, after notice and opportunity for a 
     hearing, that the employer has failed to pay the wages, or 
     provide the housing allowance, transportation, subsistence 
     reimbursement, or guarantee of employment, required under 
     section 218A(b), the Secretary of Labor shall assess payment 
     of back wages, or other required benefits, due any United 
     States worker or H-2A worker employed by the employer in the 
     specific employment in question. The back wages or other 
     required benefits under section 218A(b) shall be equal to the 
     difference between the amount that should have been paid and 
     the amount that actually was paid to such worker.
       ``(2) Statutory construction.--Nothing in this section 
     shall be construed as limiting the authority of the Secretary 
     of Labor to conduct any compliance investigation under any 
     other labor law, including any law affecting migrant and 
     seasonal agricultural workers, or, in the absence of a 
     complaint under this section, under section 218 or 218A.
       ``(b) Rights Enforceable by Private Right of Action.--H-2A 
     workers may enforce the following rights through the private 
     right of action provided in subsection (c), and no other 
     right of action shall exist under Federal or State law to 
     enforce such rights:
       ``(1) The providing of housing or a housing allowance as 
     required under section 218A(b)(1).
       ``(2) The reimbursement of transportation as required under 
     section 218A(b)(2).
       ``(3) The payment of wages required under section 
     218A(b)(3) when due.
       ``(4) The benefits and material terms and conditions of 
     employment expressly provided in the job offer described in 
     section 218(a)(2), not including the assurance to comply with 
     other Federal, State, and local labor laws described in 
     section 218A(c), compliance with which shall be governed by 
     the provisions of such laws.
       ``(5) The guarantee of employment required under section 
     218A(b)(4).
       ``(6) The motor vehicle safety requirements under section 
     218A(b)(5).
       ``(7) The prohibition of discrimination under subsection 
     (d)(2).
       ``(c) Private Right of Action.--
       ``(1) Mediation.--Upon the filing of a complaint by an H-2A 
     worker aggrieved by a violation of rights enforceable under 
     subsection (b), and within 60 days of the filing of proof of 
     service of the complaint, a party to the action may file a 
     request with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service 
     to assist the parties in reaching a satisfactory resolution 
     of all issues involving all parties to the dispute. Upon a 
     filing of such request and giving of notice to the parties, 
     the parties shall attempt mediation within the period 
     specified in subparagraph (B).
       ``(A) Mediation services.--The Federal Mediation and 
     Conciliation Service shall be available to assist in 
     resolving disputes arising under subsection (b) between H-2A 
     workers and agricultural employers without charge to the 
     parties.
       ``(B) 90-day limit.--The Federal Mediation and Conciliation 
     Service may conduct mediation or other non-binding dispute 
     resolution activities for a period not to exceed 90 days 
     beginning on the date on which the Federal Mediation and 
     Conciliation Service receives the request for assistance 
     unless the parties agree to an extension of this period of 
     time.
       ``(C) Authorization.--There is hereby authorized to be 
     appropriated annually not to exceed $500,000 to the Federal 
     Mediation and Conciliation Service to carry out this section, 
     provided that, any contrary provision of law notwithstanding, 
     the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation 
     Service is authorized to conduct the mediation or other 
     dispute resolution activities from any other appropriated 
     funds available to the Director and to reimburse such 
     appropriated funds when the funds are appropriated pursuant 
     to this authorization, such reimbursement to be credited to 
     appropriations currently available at the time of receipt 
     thereof.
       ``(2) Maintenance of civil action in district court by 
     aggrieved person.--An H-2A worker aggrieved by a violation of 
     rights enforceable under subsection (b) by an agricultural 
     employer or other person may file suit in any district court 
     of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, 
     without regard to the amount in controversy, without regard 
     to the citizenship of the parties, and without regard to the 
     exhaustion of any alternative administrative remedies under 
     this Act, not later than 3 years after the date the violation 
     occurs.
       ``(3) Election.--An H-2A worker who has filed an 
     administrative complaint with the Secretary of Labor may not 
     maintain a civil action under paragraph (2) unless a 
     complaint based on the same violation filed with the 
     Secretary of Labor under subsection (a)(1) is withdrawn prior 
     to the filing of such action, in which case the rights and 
     remedies available under this subsection shall be exclusive.
       ``(4) Preemption of state contract rights.--Nothing in this 
     Act shall be construed to diminish the rights and remedies of 
     an H-2A worker under any other Federal or State law or 
     regulation or under any collective bargaining agreement, 
     except that no court or administrative action shall be 
     available under any State contract law to enforce the rights 
     created by this Act.
       ``(5) Waiver of rights prohibited.--Agreements by employees 
     purporting to waive or modify their rights under this Act 
     shall be void as contrary to public policy, except that a 
     waiver or modification of the rights or obligations in favor 
     of the Secretary of Labor shall be valid for purposes of the 
     enforcement of this Act. The preceding sentence may not be 
     construed to prohibit agreements to settle private disputes 
     or litigation.
       ``(6) Award of damages or other equitable relief.--
       ``(A) If the court finds that the respondent has 
     intentionally violated any of the rights enforceable under 
     subsection (b), it shall award actual damages, if any, or 
     equitable relief.
       ``(B) Any civil action brought under this section shall be 
     subject to appeal as provided in chapter 83 of title 28, 
     United States Code.
       ``(7) Workers' compensation benefits; exclusive remedy.--
       ``(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, 
     where a State's workers' compensation law is applicable and 
     coverage is provided for an H-2A worker, the workers' 
     compensation benefits shall be the exclusive remedy for the 
     loss of such worker under this section in the case of bodily 
     injury or death in accordance with such State's workers' 
     compensation law.
       ``(B) The exclusive remedy prescribed in subparagraph (A) 
     precludes the recovery under paragraph (6) of actual damages 
     for

[[Page S11854]]

     loss from an injury or death but does not preclude other 
     equitable relief, except that such relief shall not include 
     back or front pay or in any manner, directly or indirectly, 
     expand or otherwise alter or affect--
       ``(i) a recovery under a State workers' compensation law; 
     or
       ``(ii) rights conferred under a State workers' compensation 
     law.
       ``(8) Tolling of statute of limitations.--If it is 
     determined under a State workers' compensation law that the 
     workers' compensation law is not applicable to a claim for 
     bodily injury or death of an H-2A worker, the statute of 
     limitations for bringing an action for actual damages for 
     such injury or death under subsection (c) shall be tolled for 
     the period during which the claim for such injury or death 
     under such State workers' compensation law was pending. The 
     statute of limitations for an action for actual damages or 
     other equitable relief arising out of the same transaction or 
     occurrence as the injury or death of the H-2A worker shall be 
     tolled for the period during which the claim for such injury 
     or death was pending under the State workers' compensation 
     law.
       ``(9) Preclusive effect.--Any settlement by an H-2A worker 
     and H-2A employer reached through the mediation process 
     required under subsection (c)(1) shall preclude any right of 
     action arising out of the same facts between the parties in 
     any Federal or State court or administrative proceeding, 
     unless specifically provided otherwise in the settlement 
     agreement.
       ``(10) Settlements.--Any settlement by the Secretary of 
     Labor with an H-2A employer on behalf of an H-2A worker of a 
     complaint filed with the Secretary of Labor under this 
     section or any finding by the Secretary of Labor under 
     subsection (a)(1)(B) shall preclude any right of action 
     arising out of the same facts between the parties under any 
     Federal or State court or administrative proceeding, unless 
     specifically provided otherwise in the settlement agreement.
       ``(d) Discrimination Prohibited.--
       ``(1) In general.--It is a violation of this subsection for 
     any person who has filed an application under section 218(a), 
     to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, 
     discharge, or in any other manner discriminate against an 
     employee (which term, for purposes of this subsection, 
     includes a former employee and an applicant for employment) 
     because the employee has disclosed information to the 
     employer, or to any other person, that the employee 
     reasonably believes evidences a violation of section 218 or 
     218A or any rule or regulation pertaining to section 218 or 
     218A, or because the employee cooperates or seeks to 
     cooperate in an investigation or other proceeding concerning 
     the employer's compliance with the requirements of section 
     218 or 218A or any rule or regulation pertaining to either of 
     such sections.
       ``(2) Discrimination against h-2a workers.--It is a 
     violation of this subsection for any person who has filed an 
     application under section 218(a), to intimidate, threaten, 
     restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, or in any manner 
     discriminate against an H-2A employee because such worker 
     has, with just cause, filed a complaint with the Secretary of 
     Labor regarding a denial of the rights enumerated and 
     enforceable under subsection (b) or instituted, or caused to 
     be instituted, a private right of action under subsection (c) 
     regarding the denial of the rights enumerated under 
     subsection (b), or has testified or is about to testify in 
     any court proceeding brought under subsection (c).
       ``(e) Authorization To Seek Other Appropriate Employment.--
     The Secretary of Labor and the Secretary shall establish a 
     process under which an H-2A worker who files a complaint 
     regarding a violation of subsection (d) and is otherwise 
     eligible to remain and work in the United States may be 
     allowed to seek other appropriate employment in the United 
     States for a period not to exceed the maximum period of stay 
     authorized for such nonimmigrant classification.
       ``(f) Role of Associations.--
       ``(1) Violation by a member of an association.--An employer 
     on whose behalf an application is filed by an association 
     acting as its agent is fully responsible for such 
     application, and for complying with the terms and conditions 
     of sections 218 and 218A, as though the employer had filed 
     the application itself. If such an employer is determined, 
     under this section, to have committed a violation, the 
     penalty for such violation shall apply only to that member of 
     the association unless the Secretary of Labor determines that 
     the association or other member participated in, had 
     knowledge, or reason to know, of the violation, in which case 
     the penalty shall be invoked against the association or other 
     association member as well.
       ``(2) Violations by an association acting as an employer.--
     If an association filing an application as a sole or joint 
     employer is determined to have committed a violation under 
     this section, the penalty for such violation shall apply only 
     to the association unless the Secretary of Labor determines 
     that an association member or members participated in or had 
     knowledge, or reason to know of the violation, in which case 
     the penalty shall be invoked against the association member 
     or members as well.


                             ``DEFINITIONS

       ``Sec. 218D. For purposes of sections 218 through 218C:
       ``(1) Agricultural employment.--The term `agricultural 
     employment' means any service or activity that is considered 
     to be agricultural under section 3(f) of the Fair Labor 
     Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203(f)) or agricultural 
     labor under section 3121(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 
     1986 (26 U.S.C. 3121(g)). For purposes of this paragraph, 
     agricultural employment includes employment under section 
     101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
       ``(2) Bona fide union.--The term `bona fide union' means 
     any organization in which employees participate and which 
     exists for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning 
     grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of 
     employment, or other terms and conditions of work for 
     agricultural employees. Such term does not include an 
     organization formed, created, administered, supported, 
     dominated, financed, or controlled by an employer or employer 
     association or its agents or representatives.
       ``(3) Displace.--In the case of an application with respect 
     to 1 or more H-2A workers by an employer, the employer is 
     considered to `displace' a United States worker from a job if 
     the employer lays off the worker from a job for which the H-
     2A worker or workers is or are sought.
       ``(4) Eligible.--The term `eligible', when used with 
     respect to an individual, means an individual who is not an 
     unauthorized alien (as defined in section 274A(h)(3)).
       ``(5) Employer.--The term `employer' means any person or 
     entity, including any farm labor contractor and any 
     agricultural association, that employs workers in 
     agricultural employment.
       ``(6) H-2A employer.--The term `H-2A employer' means an 
     employer who seeks to hire 1 or more nonimmigrant aliens 
     described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
       ``(7) H-2A worker.--The term `H-2A worker' means a 
     nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
       ``(8) Job opportunity.--The term `job opportunity' means a 
     job opening for temporary full-time employment at a place in 
     the United States to which United States workers can be 
     referred.
       ``(9) Lays off.--
       ``(A) In general.--The term `lays off', with respect to a 
     worker--
       ``(i) means to cause the worker's loss of employment, other 
     than through a discharge for inadequate performance, 
     violation of workplace rules, cause, voluntary departure, 
     voluntary retirement, contract impossibility (as described in 
     section 218A(b)(4)(D)), or temporary layoffs due to weather, 
     markets, or other temporary conditions; but
       ``(ii) does not include any situation in which the worker 
     is offered, as an alternative to such loss of employment, a 
     similar employment opportunity with the same employer (or, in 
     the case of a placement of a worker with another employer 
     under section 218(b)(2)(E), with either employer described in 
     such section) at equivalent or higher compensation and 
     benefits than the position from which the employee was 
     discharged, regardless of whether or not the employee accepts 
     the offer.
       ``(B) Statutory construction.--Nothing in this paragraph is 
     intended to limit an employee's rights under a collective 
     bargaining agreement or other employment contract.
       ``(10) Regulatory drought.--The term `regulatory drought' 
     means a decision subsequent to the filing of the application 
     under section 218 by an entity not under the control of the 
     employer making such filing which restricts the employer's 
     access to water for irrigation purposes and reduces or limits 
     the employer's ability to produce an agricultural commodity, 
     thereby reducing the need for labor.
       ``(11) Seasonal.--Labor is performed on a `seasonal' basis 
     if--
       (A) ordinarily, it pertains to or is of the kind 
     exclusively performed at certain seasons or periods of the 
     year; and
       (B) from its nature, it may not be continuous or carried on 
     throughout the year.
       ``(12) Secretary.--The term `Secretary' means the Secretary 
     of Homeland Security.
       ``(13) Temporary.--A worker is employed on a `temporary' 
     basis where the employment is intended not to exceed 10 
     months.
       ``(14) United states worker.--The term `United States 
     worker' means any worker, whether a United States citizen or 
     national, a lawfully admitted permanent resident alien, or 
     any other alien, who is authorized to work in the job 
     opportunity within the United States, except an alien 
     admitted or otherwise provided status under section 
     101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) is 
     amended by striking the item relating to section 218 and 
     inserting the following:

``Sec. 218. H-2A employer applications.
``Sec. 218A. H-2A employment requirements.
``Sec. 218B. Procedure for admission and extension of stay of H-2A 
              workers.
``Sec. 218C. Worker protections and labor standards enforcement.
``Sec. 218D. Definitions.''.

                  TITLE III--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

     SEC. 301. DETERMINATION AND USE OF USER FEES.

       (a) Schedule of Fees.--The Secretary shall establish and 
     periodically adjust a schedule of fees for the employment of 
     aliens under this Act, and a collection process for such fees 
     from employers participating in the program provided under 
     this Act. Such fees shall be the only fees chargeable to 
     employers for services provided under this Act.
       (b) Determination of Schedule.--
       (1) In general.--The schedule under subsection (a) shall 
     reflect a fee rate based on

[[Page S11855]]

     the number of job opportunities indicated in the employer's 
     application under section 218 of the Immigration and 
     Nationality Act, as added by section 201 of this Act, and 
     sufficient to provide for the direct costs of providing 
     services related to an employer's authorization to employ 
     eligible aliens pursuant to this Act, to include the 
     certification of eligible employers, the issuance of 
     documentation, and the admission of eligible aliens.
       (2) Procedure.--
       (A) In general.--In establishing and adjusting such a 
     schedule, the Secretary shall comply with Federal cost 
     accounting and fee setting standards.
       (B) Publication and comment.--The Secretary shall publish 
     in the Federal Register an initial fee schedule and 
     associated collection process and the cost data or estimates 
     upon which such fee schedule is based, and any subsequent 
     amendments thereto, pursuant to which public comment shall be 
     sought and a final rule issued.
       (c) Use of Proceeds.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
     of law, all proceeds resulting from the payment of the alien 
     employment user fees shall be available without further 
     appropriation and shall remain available without fiscal year 
     limitation to reimburse the Secretary, the Secretary of 
     State, and the Secretary of Labor for the costs of carrying 
     out sections 218 and 218B of the Immigration and Nationality 
     Act, as added by section 201 of this Act, and the provisions 
     of this Act.

     SEC. 302. REGULATIONS.

       (a) Regulations of the Secretary.--The Secretary shall 
     consult with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of 
     Agriculture on all regulations to implement the duties of the 
     Secretary under this Act.
       (b) Regulations of the Secretary of State.--The Secretary 
     of State shall consult with the Secretary, the Secretary of 
     Labor, and the Secretary of Agriculture on all regulations to 
     implement the duties of the Secretary of State under this 
     Act.
       (c) Regulations of the Secretary of Labor.--The Secretary 
     of Labor shall consult with the Secretary of Agriculture and 
     the Secretary on all regulations to implement the duties of 
     the Secretary of Labor under this Act.
       (d) Deadline for Issuance of Regulations.--All regulations 
     to implement the duties of the Secretary, the Secretary of 
     State, and the Secretary of Labor created under sections 218, 
     218A, 218B, and 218C of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 
     as added by section 201, shall take effect on the effective 
     date of section 201 and shall be issued not later than 1 year 
     after the date of enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 303. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       (a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided, sections 201 
     and 301 shall take effect on the date that is 1 year after 
     the date of enactment of this Act.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare and submit 
     to the appropriate committees of the Congress a report that 
     describes the measures being taken and the progress made in 
     implementing this Act.

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it is a privilege to join my colleagues 
in introducing the Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits, and 
Security Act.
  The treatment of immigrant farm workers, dating back to the Bracero 
program, represents a shameful chapter in our history. The decades of 
exploitation these workers have endured continues to this day. Large 
numbers of men and women employed in agriculture today are 
indispensable workers who also happen to be undocumented. As a result, 
they are easily exploited by unscrupulous employers, who get away with 
paying them very low wages and forcing them to work in dangerous 
conditions. Inevitably, that means lower wages for legal farm workers.
  We have been struggling for decades to find a solution to this 
emotional heart-wrenching problem. This legislation--a historic and 
far-reaching agreement between the United Farm Workers of America and 
the representatives of agricultural industries--provides a common sense 
solution to this long-standing problem. It will provide farm workers 
and their families with dignity and justice and give agricultural 
industries with a legal workforce.
  We need an agriculture policy grounded in reality, a policy that 
recognizes their contributions and respects and rewards their work. 
This legislation will improve the wages and working conditions of all 
farm workers, and provide a way for foreign-born workers to become 
permanent residents.
  Under this bill, 500,000 farm workers currently working the United 
States will be able to legalize their status. These changes will 
benefit both workers and growers. The legislation will improve the 
wages and working conditions of all farm workers, and provide a way for 
foreign-born workers to become permanent residents.
  Agriculture is a unique industry. Growers must have an immediate and 
reliable workforce at harvest time. Everyone is harmed when crops rot 
in the field because the workers are not available. With these changes, 
growers will have greater access to dependable, hard-working employees, 
and a workforce that is no longer subject to sudden immigration raids.
  I urge my colleagues to support this needed legislation. These 
reforms are long overdue, to improve the lives and working conditions 
of all farm workers, and it is long past time for Congress to act.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleagues, 
Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts and Senator Craig of Idaho, in 
introducing the Agricultural Job Opportunity Benefits and Security Act 
of 2003. For the last six years, I have been working closely with 
several of my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives, 
including the Senators from Massachusetts and Idaho, to enact 
legislation that would provide a balanced approach to reforming our 
agricultural guest worker program.
  There is one thing I believe we can all agree on--the status quo of 
agricultural guest workers in America is unacceptable. Under the status 
quo, we have created an underground society and pushed many of our 
Nation's hardest workers into the shadows. This is unfair treatment for 
workers who play such a vital part in our Nation's economic health.
  Recently, the Miami Herald published a series documenting the 
horrible working and living conditions of agricultural workers in 
Florida. I have attached parts of that series for the Record. This 
series substantiates what we have all known anecdotally for years. Farm 
workers in our country--those who are legal citizens or residents of 
the United States as well as those who are undocumented--live in 
uninhabitable housing, are transported in vehicles that do not meet 
basic safety standards, and are subject to predatory lending practices 
that require payment of as much as 100 percent interest on accumulated 
debt.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the series be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the series was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                 [From the Miami Herald, Aug. 31, 2003]

 Fields of Despair--Florida Farmhands Reap a Harvest of Poverty, Pain 
                            and Exploitation

                           (By Ronnie Green)

                          First of three parts

       Jacksonville.--The recruiters come rolling through in roomy 
     vans, searching for a fresh crop of farmworkers from the 
     homeless shelters, haggard parks and soup kitchens dotting 
     North Florida's urban hubs.
       They target the addicted, the vulnerable, the desperate 
     with promises of good pay, cash upfront, cold beer. Some talk 
     of crack cocaine and ready sex.
       Step inside that van, say those who have, and journey 
     straight to hell.
       Florida is America's second-richest agricultural state. But 
     for the farmhands who labor along the lowest rung of the food 
     chain, the riches are a mirage.
       Their world is filled with sweatshop hours, slum housing, 
     poverty pay and criminal abuse. At its extreme, it includes 
     modern-day slavery in a state where oranges adorn license 
     plates and tourists pull in for a free cup of juice when they 
     cross the border.
       The brutality in North Florida has an unusual, bitter 
     twist, a Herald examination has found. While most farmworkers 
     in Florida and nationwide are undocumented Mexicans who have 
     trekked through the desert in search of fortune, the laborers 
     who toil unnoticed in hamlets like East Palatka and Hastings 
     are mostly poor black Americans.
       They are recruited by crew-chief contractors who serve as 
     middlemen between the farmers who grow crops and the laborers 
     who pick, package and sort them. These bosses can control 
     nearly every aspect of the workers' lives: their housing, 
     their food, their transportation and even their paycheck.
       In interviews with The Herald, farmworkers told harrowing 
     stories of life in a hot stretch of North Florida farm 
     country that welcomes passersby with signs saying ``Jesus is 
     Lord, Welcome to Hastings'' and ``Florida's Potato Capital.''
       Many were recruited from gathering spots for the homeless--
     soup kitchens, parks and shelters in Jacksonville, Orlando, 
     Tampa. They say they were lured with vows of good pay, 
     sprinkled with promises of partying and $15 in cash when they 
     reached the farm.
       What they didn't know: They would live in slum housing, 
     work long hours for scant pay, and, in several cases, have to 
     pay back $1 of interest for most every $1 loaned to them to 
     buy food--including the $15 that first lured them into the 
     van.
       Poor, isolated, without transportation, these men said they 
     became slaves to the

[[Page S11856]]

     boss and their debts. One said he was beaten about the face 
     this year when he couldn't repay his ``debt.'' Two nights 
     later, he slipped away at midnight and walked for hours to 
     escape.


                           cases investigated

           Focus is on recruitment by farm labor contractors

       Federal prosecutors are now examining cases in which North 
     Florida farm labor contractors recruited from homeless 
     shelters--only to exploit the laborers who stepped into those 
     vans. Investigators confirmed the inquiry, but would not 
     elaborate.
       ``We've been contacted about this situation,'' Douglas 
     Molloy, managing assistant U.S. attorney in Fort Myers, said 
     last week.
       One former worker, Angelo Jennings, said a Hastings crew 
     boss lured him from a scraggly lot across from the Clara 
     White Mission in Jacksonville, a lot where birds snip at 
     dirty bread and shopping carts and beer cans cover the 
     grounds.
       ``This is when he catches you at your lowest point,'' said 
     Jennings, a recovering drug addict working to reform his 
     ways. ``If you have any good sense, he doesn't want you. He 
     wants you where he can use you.
       ``If you're tired and hungry, they'll go out and buy some 
     food and a six-pack, and put it on ice.''
       Then, almost as an afterthought, he said: ``Just like a rat 
     trying to get some cheese.''
       The mission's chief executive officer, Ju'Coby Pittman, 
     said: ``They go from shelter to shelter and prey on them''
       Such tactics became so routine, and the promises so hollow, 
     that Pittman once posted a sign: ``Do not get in the van.''
       But the vans still roll through here, through Tampa, 
     through Orlando, on the road to farm country.


                            a big farm state

         Abuse is an unseen element in Florida's No. 2 industry

       Agriculture is a huge business in Florida. The state 
     produces three-fourths of the citrus harvested across the 
     United States each year, and it leads the world in production 
     of grapefruit. In 2000, the top 10 vegetable growers in the 
     Southeastern United States were based in Florida. Across the 
     country, only California boasts a richer agricultural crop.
       Yet behind the sunny image of Florida's No. 2 industry, 
     abuse abounds, and it is not limited to one rough boss or one 
     patch of hard-luck laborers.
       ``It's incredibly widespread,'' said prosecutor Molloy, who 
     has previously sent bosses away for enslaving farmworkers. 
     ``There is someone who has been making money off the misery--
     and off the hopes and dreams--of other people.''
       At the bottom rung of the system are the 200,000 seasonal 
     farmworkers who harvest crops from outside the State's urban 
     hubs to its dusty corridors.
       ``You've made a job so bad that the only people who are 
     going to do farm work are undocumented aliens or crack 
     addicts,'' said Gregory S. Schell, a Lake Worth lawyer with 
     the Migrant Farmworker Justice Project of Florida Legal 
     Services. ``That's a tremendous indictment of the 
     agricultural industry.''
       His criticism is not of the workers who harvest Florida's 
     bountiful crops, but of the industry enriched by their sweat 
     labor.
       Most pickers in Florida and nationwide are undocumented 
     foreign workers, and many native farmhands have had run-ins 
     with the law. There is a reason for that worker profile, 
     advocates say: Crew bosses hire the vulnerable because they 
     can exploit them. The laborers, hungry for a fresh start, are 
     quick to take the job.
       Florida is home to more crew-chief contractors than any 
     State in the Nation, with more than one in three--3,027 of 
     8,832--based in the State. Florida also leads the Nation in 
     the number of crew-chief contractors and assistants currently 
     stripped of licenses to work because of labor violations, 
     with 43 percent of the total, The Herald has found. They have 
     relegated workers to shabby housing, cheated them of pay or 
     otherwise skirted Federal migrant worker laws.
       For a glimpse inside this world, follow Lisa Butler, a 
     Florida Rural Legal Services attorney representing workers 
     who fled their contractors' employ in far North Florida.
       Butler does her legwork at night and in potentially 
     dangerous environs, visiting housing camps to pass out fliers 
     letting workers know their rights. More than once, she has 
     been confronted by crew chiefs or their workers.
       ``There is a pattern up here of severe violations,'' Butler 
     said as she wheeled through Hastings and Spuds and East 
     Palatka, on her way to the next cramped housing camp. ``It's 
     a function of how this industry lets crew leaders control the 
     pay.''
       The picture she sees evokes images of America's darkest 
     days.
       ``I felt like being a slave, just working to support his 
     family,'' farmworker Isiah Brown, 43, a native of South 
     Carolina, said of the boss who controlled him.
       That boss, Ronald M. Jones, is a six-foot-four, 250-pound 
     homegrown son who spins through town in a muscular Cadillac 
     Escalade and flashes cash he gets from Florida farmers to 
     employ laborers at the lowest, dirtiest rung of the chain. He 
     did not respond to multiple interview requests.


                           start of a journey

          Promise of work and pay is irresistible--and elusive

       Brown's journey to Jones began on a Sunday in Orlando, when 
     another farm recruiter approached him as he lounged in a 
     park. There's work up north, the man said. Honest day, honest 
     pay.
       Brown hopped in, traveling 100 miles to Hastings and 
     neighboring East Palatka, where he ultimately lived in a 
     squalid, illegal hellhole for farmworkers operated by Jones 
     and stood for long hours sorting potatoes for a few dollars' 
     pay.
       Brown came to the job poor and said boss Jones made him 
     poorer, fronting him cash for food and supplies, but demand 
     $1 in interest for most ever $1 loaned. With no car and 
     little cash, he was captive to the debts--struggling to work 
     enough hours to pay back the 100 percent interest.
       Five former workers said in interviews that Jones forced 
     the same arrangement on them.
       ``It was the only way I could eat,'' Brown said. ``This 
     farm thing, you put in the work, but the money just don't 
     match the work.''
       In East Palatka, he slept in a decrepit trailer along with 
     nine other farmworkers in a trashy compound that housed up to 
     two dozen workers. His trailer had no running water and no 
     air conditioning.
       When workers returned to the camp after long days, area 
     drug dealers and bootleggers showed up, Brown said, the 
     bootleggers selling 65-cent beer for $1.25.
       ``Everybody makes money off farmworkers,'' he said at a 
     nearby park days after fleeing. ``It seems like when 
     farmworkers come to town, everything goes up 20 percent.''


                          hiring of farmhands

         Homeless people in park described as ``easy targets''

       Crew leader Jones was employed by Bulls-Hit Ranch & Farm, 
     maker of gourmet potato chips, to provide farm laborers like 
     Brown.
       William Oglesby, 50, a one-time truck driver, also worked 
     at Bulls-Hit under Jones and lived in the same compound.
       Like Brown, he had been recruited where the homeless 
     congregate, at Confederate Park in Jacksonville. ``Most of 
     them were easy targets,'' Oglesby said.
       He said he wasn't homeless but needed work. ``They told me 
     I could go with them today and work,'' he said ``And they 
     said I could make some money. But money, I haven't seen.''
       One week, Oglesby calculated, he should have earned $300 by 
     sorting potatoes and packing them into trucks, rising at 5:30 
     a.m. and sometimes not returning to the camp until 10 p.m.
       His pay stub from Jones showed $154.51. Bug Oglesby--like 
     Brown--said even the pay stub did not reflect what actually 
     went into his pocket. To understand how that could happen, 
     follow the money.
       Bulls-Hit President Thomas R. Lee said he would write Jones 
     a check each week to cover the work completed. But then the 
     boss, not the farmer, was responsible for paying workers from 
     that bounty.
       ``He pays them, I don't,'' Lee said. ``He has a daily 
     record of what he pays the crew.''
       Lee said he told Jones not to make any loans at Bulls-Hit, 
     since such transactions on farm property could reflect upon 
     the farmer. ``I told him that whatever he did off my 
     property was his business,'' Lee said.
       Critics say this arrangement is ripe for abuse. When crew 
     bosses control the cash, they are more apt to cheat the 
     workers below them. Simply put, every $1 they skimp from 
     workers is an extra $1 in their pocket. Jones' former workers 
     say they were cheated of thousands.
       Contrary to the figure on his pay stub, Oglesby said he got 
     $35 in cash stuffed into an envelope at week's end. Brown 
     said he pocketed $32.06 one week.
       The men say Jones did not pay them for all the hours they 
     worked. They say he also docked from their pay the loans and 
     interest he charged them, and billed $30 a week to live in 
     the slum complex.
       ``They've got a way to make sure you stay in their debt,'' 
     Oglesby said. ``You don't think straight when you're tired 
     and hungry.''
       Jones, 40, is known in these parts as ``Too Tall.'' He did 
     not reply to written questions delivered to his house in 
     Hastings, nor did he respond to three requests for an 
     interview placed with his wife, Sylvia.
       Jennings, the Jacksonville man recruited near a homeless 
     shelter, said he lived at another Jones compound in Palatka 
     and also sorted potatoes at Bulls-Hit. He said Jones zeroed 
     in on his weakness at that scraggly Jacksonville lot, luring 
     him and four others.
       ``I've got a deal for you, and y'all can make a lot of 
     money,'' he quoted Jones as saying. ``If you smoke crack, 
     that's the place to be.''
       Once he was in Palatka, Jennings said, prostitutes were 
     ready visitors to the housing camp--at a cost. ``They would 
     come there and smoke crack,'' he said.
       Jennings is working to get straight at the Trinity Rescue 
     Ministries in Jacksonville. The program supervisor, Cornell 
     Robinson, said: ``They find your weakness and they force this 
     on you.''
       The city is a ready target for farm recruiters. The 
     Jacksonville/Duval County hub is home to nearly 15,000 
     homeless people a year, according to a recent study by the 
     Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition of Jacksonville.
       For the homeless who turn to farm work, the cycle can 
     become brutal. Many become fearful of talking publicly.

[[Page S11857]]

       In late May, The Herald encountered a Jones worker at 
     another of Jones' properties, a house in Hastings. With an 
     elderly man sitting on a porch chair that day, the worker 
     said he had no complaints.
       Later that day, the worker was carrying a sack of potatoes 
     back to the house, out of sight of the man in the chair. 
     ``That housing is unfit,'' he said, saying he was billed $30 
     a week to live there.
       Two months later, by chance, The Herald ran into the worker 
     outside a Jacksonville feeding line. Now free of the boss, he 
     said that ``Too Tall'' had recruited him at a soup kitchen 
     with the same tired promises: good pay, nice housing, 
     plentiful food.
       ``Nothing was true,'' he said. ``It's a death trap. You 
     can't get out of there.''
       He said that Jones loaned him money each day, and that a 
     Jones associate loaned him cash each afternoon. Both demanded 
     100 percent interest. The debts got so heavy, he said, 
     that one week he pocketed $1.08 for six days of work.
       ``It keeps you in a hole you can never get out of,'' said 
     the worker, who asked that his name not be used.
       He said the Jones associate beat him when he didn't have 
     money to repay the debt, hitting him in the face two or three 
     times and knocking him to the ground. ``He told me I better 
     have his money or I'll be in trouble.'' Two days later, he 
     made his midnight exit.
       Misery in North Florida isn't limited to Jones' camps, and 
     poverty pay and slum housing are not the only abuses. Many 
     workers, struggling when they start their farm duty, quickly 
     find themselves in dangerous conditions. Injuries, or worse, 
     become part of the trade.
       In January, a migrant worker at the nearby Uzzles Labor 
     Camp in Elkton was stabbed to death with a butcher knife 
     after a dispute with another laborer.
       Three months later, attorney Butler went to the camp to 
     hand out fliers letting workers know their rights. She was 
     not well received, nor were journalists who accompanied her 
     for this report.
       Ron Uzzle, the burly crew boss, became angry when a 
     photographer started snapping pictures. He had little 
     patience for Butler either. ``Does anyone want to talk to 
     these people?'' Uzzle bellowed.
       ``Hell no!'' came the reply. Some of his crew members 
     refused to accept fliers from Butler as Uzzle watched. Uzzle 
     refused a request for an interview.
       Another nearby complex housed a catalog of pain. To one 
     side of that squat blue building, Butler inspected farmworker 
     William Durham, who pulled up his shirt to expose a stomach 
     covered by an unsightly, itchy white rash.
       Durham feared that the rash came from pesticides. ``It did 
     happen on the job,'' he told Butler. She took his story and 
     his picture.
       Nearby, Richard Williams, 53, a picker for nine years, 
     worked without a right forefinger.
       Wearing a T-shirt that said ``Nature Can't Be Restocked,'' 
     Williams said he thinks pesticides got under his fingernail 
     as he picked winter cabbage in North Carolina in 2001.
       ``By the time I got here, it was too late,'' he said. The 
     finger was amputated.
       Butler took his information. Another potential case at a 
     camp oozing booze and misery.
       William Anderson said he heard the promises at a Tampa 
     Salvation Army shelter and went to a camp run by Ronald 
     Evans, a veteran East Palatka contractor. Evans did not reply 
     to four interview requests, nor did he respond to written 
     questions.
       ``A van rolled around,'' Anderson recounted. ``They said, 
     `Are you looking for work? . . . We've got a swimming pool,' 
     When we got there, it was more like a slave camp. After he 
     gets you there, he's got you.''
       At night at the camp, next to the dinner line, more goods 
     were for sale. ``You get your cigarettes, your beer and your 
     drugs. Everything was there on the camp,'' Anderson said from 
     an upstate shelter, to which he turned after leaving.
       ``A couple of guys said they owed $10,000. You might as 
     well owe them your soul, because where can you go?
       ``I'm not going to sugarcoat it. We were doing what 
     everyone else was doing. You do your beer, your cigarettes 
     and your drugs.''
       After four months of work, he left with $90 in his pocket, 
     he said. ``I've been down and out. Right now, I'm sleeping 
     wherever I can.''
       Tammy Byrer, executive director of the St. Francis House 
     shelter in St. Augustine, which provides a roof and job 
     counseling for displaced workers like Anderson, said 
     Florida's farmers surely know what's going on.
       ``Don't ask, don't tell,'' was how she described the 
     prevailing attitude, as volunteers prepared 600 sandwiches 
     delivered daily to area farmworkers.
       ``Somebody needs to come up to the plate.''
                                  ____


                Farm Camp ``Unsafe for Human Occupancy''

                           (By Ronnie Greene)

       East Palatka.--When inspectors showed up at Ronald Jones' 
     farmworker housing camp here, they found a place unfit for 
     humans.
       Within a day in early May, the multicolored buildings were 
     condemned, with bright red ``Danger'' signs on each door: 
     ``This building is deemed unsafe for human occupancy.''
       Inspectors found five open septic systems; bad plumbing; 
     substandard floors, roofs and ceilings--and ``evidence of 
     occupancy of the cabins'' even though the complex didn't have 
     the proper permits to house migrant workers.
       As dragonflies buzzed overhead one May day, an exposed 
     septic tank was filled with sewage. A 32-ounce Schlitz Malt 
     Liquor bottle lay nearby.
       ``It just was miserable living there. And I just wanted out 
     of that filth,'' farmworker Earnest Louis Mitchell, 57, said 
     in a telephone interview from a homeless shelter.
       ``The commode wouldn't flush, you smelled all through the 
     house at night, and water was all on the floor. You could get 
     electrocuted when you went into the bathroom.''
       He doesn't intend to go back. ``I'm just going to bum the 
     street--no more farm work.''
       Mitchell had walked away from Jones' employ and called the 
     number on a Legal Services flier. Lisa Butler, a Florida 
     Rural Legal Services attorney, notified the state Department 
     of Health, which investigated along with the Putnam County 
     code enforcement division.
       Jones, who owns several farm housing camps in the area, did 
     not reply to written questions. But later that May day, his 
     wife happened to stop by the housing camp.
       ``A lot of things we didn't know about,'' said Sylvia 
     Jones, who said she co-owns the property with her husband. 
     ``It was like this when we got it.''
       The Jones camp is just one of many around the state where 
     workers live in squalor. Yet little is done to help them--
     unless someone complains.
       ``Migrant workers aren't one to complain too much,'' said 
     John Salmons, the Putnam County code enforcement supervisor, 
     who examined the buildings with Code Officer Dina K. Trull.
       ``I think they're afraid for whatever reason. If they're 
     illegal aliens or just happy to be working, we don't get a 
     lot of calls on migrant labor camps.''
                                  ____


The Face of Florida's Farmworkers--Driven by Harsh Conditions in Their 
     Homelands, Laborers Travel Far, Only To See New Hardships Here

                           (By Ronnie Greene)

       Immokalee.--At dawn, the migrant workers huddle around the 
     red-and-blue buses that deliver them to Florida's rich farm 
     fields. One by one, they pile into the rickety carriers, 
     their fingers dirty with Florida soil, their faces weathered 
     from sun-soaked labor.
       This is farm country, Immokalee, Florida. Just 100 short 
     miles from South Florida's urban shuffle, Immokalee feels a 
     century away. The streets are dusty, the traffic slow--
     farmhands trudging or riding bikes, cars a luxury beyond the 
     reach of most.
       By day, they pluck the tomatoes and oranges that are the 
     lifeblood of Florida's agriculture economy. By night, they 
     return to their modest camps, where they turn on fans to shoo 
     the heat and tally the earnings they will send back home.
       In Immokalee, you will find the face of Florida's 
     farmworkers. While some pockets of the Sunshine State include 
     American men recruited from homeless camps to harvest crops, 
     Immokalee's workforce, mirroring the farmworker profile 
     across the nation, is largely Mexican-born.
       The men, women and some children laboring here paid steep 
     fees for the privilege. Many walked through the desert to 
     touch U.S. soil in Arizona, then paid $1,000 or more to be 
     smuggled to Florida on the back floor of furtive vans.
       And, like farmworkers nationwide, they struggle. Certainly, 
     the long hours under the sun provide more pay than most ever 
     earned back home.
       But this prosperity is relative. Most farmworkers 
     nationwide earn less than poverty pay. And in Florida, some 
     have been criminally abused. Immokalee and the farm beyond it 
     have been home to three of the five farmworkers slavery 
     prosecutions brought against Florida farm contractors and 
     smugglers since 1996.
       In 2000, the U.S. Department of Labor issued A Demographic 
     and Employment Profile of U.S. Farmworkers, which was based 
     on interviews with 4,199 farmworkers in 85 counties from 1996 
     to 1998.
       The study found that:
       61 percent of U.S. farmworkers had income below the poverty 
     level.
       The median income was less than $7,500 a year.
       14 percent of farmworkers owned or were buying a home in 
     1997-98. Three years earlier, the ratio had been one in 
     three.
       77 percent of U.S. farmworkers were Mexican-born.
       More than half of America's farmworkers--52 of every 100--
     were unauthorized workers.
       In Immokalee, these numbers have faces.
                                  ____


             Advocates Don't Feel Labor Department is Ally

                           (By Ronnie Greene)

       Farmworker advocates say the federal government does little 
     to protect the laborers whose sweat brings fruit and 
     vegetables to the state's tables.
       Now they fear even less protection. The head of the agency 
     overseeing farm work conditions recently told Florida growers 
     that she wants to work with--not against--them.
       ``If you have an issue with an investigator [who cites 
     you], you shouldn't just pay the money. Go up the chain of 
     command and

[[Page S11858]]

     complain. You will get fair treatment from us,'' Tammy 
     McCutchen, the U.S. Department of Labor's wage and hour 
     administrator, told growers in Orlando last year, according 
     to an industry publication.
       Her comments were viewed by many growers as ``the most 
     encouraging they had heard from a Department of Labor 
     administrator in years,'' Gempler's Alert newsletter said. 
     Her remarks came at a time when the department faced 
     dwindling investigative staffing.
       In an interview with The Herald, McCutchen said critics are 
     mistaken if they accuse her office of lax supervision.
       She said her approach is to work with companies that act in 
     ``good faith'' and if farmers don't work to fix flaws, ``we 
     will hit them hard with enforcement.''
       ``If you can get employers to voluntarily comply early on, 
     you can do a lot better job for the workers. Instead of 
     waiting two or three years for litigation, you are able to 
     fix the problem in a few weeks or a few months.''
       Statistics from wage and hour show the division collected 
     30 percent more in back wages for agriculture workers last 
     year than a year earlier.
       In fiscal year 2002, it assessed $230,600 in civil 
     penalties against growers and contractors in the Southeast.
       ``Defending one of our lawsuits cost [growers] that much,'' 
     said Rob Williams, director of the Migrant Farmworker Justice 
     Project of Florida Legal Services, which has tangled with 
     growers over wage and other inequities.
       He believes McCutchen's message means that enforcement will 
     be rarer still.
       McCutchen had also told growers that a checklist used to 
     inspect migrant housing would be significantly pared down, to 
     weed out minor items in order to focus on major housing 
     concerns. She said her own inspectors would undergo 
     ``professional conduct'' training to improve relations with 
     growers they inspect.
       Other numbers support critics' concerns. The wage and hour 
     division had 945 investigators to examine agriculture and 
     other industries at the end of fiscal year 2001, but 862 as 
     of March. In Florida, the number dipped from 77 to 73 in 
     January 2003. ``I'm very proud of our enforcement efforts, no 
     matter what the raw numbers show,'' McCutchen said.
       Last year, the Labor Department conducted an informal study 
     to see how many growers and contractors were in compliance 
     with the four main provisions of the Migrant and Seasonal 
     Agricultural Worker Protection Act. It found:
       Thirty-nine percent did not comply with the law's 
     disclosure rules, which require employers to inform workers 
     of their rights.
       Twenty-six percent did not comply with housing safety and 
     health rules.
       Ten percent to 15 percent did not comply with various 
     transportation requirements.
       Nine percent did not comply with wage laws.
       Although the federal agency is more apt to punish labor 
     contractors, it sometimes goes after farmers.
       In August 2002, it fined West Coast Tomato $3,650 for 
     operating a Manatee County camp in squalid condition.
       Former Manatee County Commissioner Daniel P. McClure is 
     president of West Coast, the ninth-largest vegetable grower 
     in the Southeast.
       At 6747 Prospect Rd. in Bradenton, inspectors found the 
     roof rotting and leaking. The garage was used as a sleeping 
     room, four beds on the floor. Gas tanks had been installed 
     without a permit.
       McClure, who lives in a Bradenton mansion with a $1.6 
     million market value, had blamed the camp conditions on a 
     former crew boss.
       ``That's past history, fella,'' McClure said, declining 
     interview requests. ``Sounds like you're looking for some way 
     to sensationalize the news. If you want to talk about the 
     past, don't come.''

  Mr. GRAHAM of Florida. Hard-working, law-abiding farmers and growers 
also suffer under the current system. They continue to be at legal risk 
for hiring undocumented workers who frequently present fraudulent 
documents that appear to be credible. The current agricultural guest 
worker program also fails to provide for unforeseen labor shortages.
  The bill before us provides an essential balance. It establishes a 
legal system that ensures basic rights and protections for workers who 
make significant contributions to our nation's economy. It also ensures 
the development of an efficient agricultural guest worker program that 
improves farmer and grower access to legal agricultural workers.
  Agricultural workers do extremely grueling work, work that puts 
fruits, vegetables and flowers on the tables of many American 
households. Dedicated, experienced farm workers deserve the dignity, 
empowerment and improved quality of life that come with earning legal 
status. Farmers that play by the rules should have a modern, 
streamlined program that provides easier access to legal agricultural 
workers.
  Congress has not focused on farm worker issues since the mid-1980s. 
Reform of our agricultural guest worker program is long overdue, and I 
am hopeful that we will move beyond our status quo and address this 
important issue this year.
                                 ______
                                 
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[ End ] 



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