CCUSA and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commend the Department of Labor for its efforts to improve protections afforded to both prospective and existing H-2A workers. We also appreciate efforts to clarify expectations placed on employers to aid in their compliance with program requirements.
H-2A workers face unique vulnerabilities, given the temporary nature of their status, reliance on their employer for basic needs, the fear of reprisal, language barriers and other factors. While acknowledging that not all employers who participate in the H-2A program are engaged in harmful or illegal practices, and employers may also struggle at times with vague or complex requirements, our constituencies report the regular and widespread occurrence of illicit and unjust practices.
The proposed rule is a step in the right direction and would bring several positive outcomes for workers and employers.