Are you frustrated that you can never find U.S. workers to do the heavy lifting needed in order to get your agricultural product to market? So, why not consider migrant farm workers as a solution? This is a lawfulprocess that the U.S. immigration code created in order to ensure that our country perpetually continues to be the breadbasket to the world and does not have to depend on foreign farms to feed our own population. In this post, we will show you how to hire migrant workers in the US for farm work, and to do so within the established confines of the law.
How to Hire Seasonal Agricultural Workers
Sanctions for Hiring Undocumented Labor
There are several important things to consider if you are looking to hire migrant farm workers for your agricultural business. First, and perhaps most importantly, is that you must carefully follow the law. One of the reasons you might be considering hiring migrant farm workers in the first place is that you are concerned about the fines and penalties involved in hiring unlawful labor from within the U.S. to fulfill your business’ need.
Many farms and other agricultural businesses have been shut down or have lost millions of dollars in profit because they have fallen victim to enforcement actions by the Department of Homeland Security for their repeated hiring of undocumented workers over the past several years. Some employers, as in the case of the Postville Iowa meat processing plant owners, have even been arrested and criminally prosecuted.
Given this harsh reality, why would you - in looking to avoid the consequences of hiring seasonal agricultural workers unlawfully - not want to be certain that you are carefully following the law in bringing migrant farm workers from abroad to service your labor needs? You need to make sure that a competent and experienced immigration attorney is handling your case and always remember that a non-attorney can never lawfully give you legal advice under the U.S. law. During this process, you will always have questions related to the sanctity and legality of your business and your eligibility to use the H2A or other programs for your business that only an experienced immigration attorney will be able to properly answer.
For more on who can give legal advice, see this article from the American Bar Association.
How to Find Migrant Workers in the US
Your immigration attorney will often be able to provide you with contact information for local agents in Mexico or other foreign countries that can help you find seasonal agricultural workers to help with your business needs. It is also important to know that even when you have the means of acquiring the foreign migrant workers that you ensure that the individuals being hired from abroad do not have any grounds of inadmissibility on their record that the U.S. consulate or embassy may deem prevents them from obtaining a visa. These grounds can include such items as crimes or prior unlawful stay in the United States. Again, only a competent, experienced immigration attorney can properly determine this. Washington University Law School lists many of these grounds of inadmissibility in this chart.
For an interesting video on the use of migrant workers in the US and the labor visa process generally, you might want to check out this video from Fox News.
None of the advice contained in these materials serves as a substitute for individualized legal representation by a licensed attorney with experience in the practice area.