H.R. 2414 (111th): AgJOBS Act of 2009

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of May 14, 2009 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2414

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 14, 2009

(for himself, Mr. Putnam, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Ryan of Wisconsin, Mr. Boyd, Mr. Radanovich, Mr. Costa, Mr. McHugh, Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Mr. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida, Mr. Cuellar, Mr. Lee of New York, Mr. Thompson of California, Mr. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Mr. Perriello, Mr. Rehberg, Mr. Massa, Mr. Gutierrez, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Farr, Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California, Mr. Sablan, Mr. Cardoza, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Mr. Flake, Mr. Nunes, and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To improve agricultural job opportunities, benefits, and security for aliens in the United States, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title, table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009 or the AgJOBS Act of 2009.

(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—PILOT PROGRAM FOR EARNED STATUS ADJUSTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

Subtitle A—Blue card status

Sec. 101. Requirements for blue card status.

Sec. 102. Treatment of aliens granted blue card status.

Sec. 103. Adjustment to permanent residence.

Sec. 104. Applications.

Sec. 105. Waiver of numerical limitations and certain grounds for inadmissibility.

Sec. 106. Administrative and judicial review.

Sec. 107. Use of information.

Sec. 108. Regulations, effective date, authorization of appropriations.

Subtitle B—Correction of Social Security Records

Sec. 111. Correction of Social Security records.

TITLE II—REFORM OF H–2A WORKER PROGRAM

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

TITLE III—MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 301. Determination and use of user fees.

Sec. 302. Regulations.

Sec. 303. Reports to Congress.

Sec. 304. Effective date.

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 or the performance of agricultural labor or services described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a)).

(2)

Blue card status

The term blue card status means the status of an alien who has been lawfully admitted into the United States for temporary residence under section 101(a).

(3)

Department

The term Department means the Department of Homeland Security.

(4)

Employer

The term employer means any person or entity, including any farm labor contractor and any agricultural association, that employs workers in agricultural employment.

(5)

Secretary

Except as otherwise provided, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(6)

Work day

The term work day means any day in which the individual is employed 5.75 or more hours in agricultural employment.

I

PILOT PROGRAM FOR EARNED STATUS ADJUSTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

A

Blue card status

101.

Requirements for blue card status

(a)

Requirement To grant blue card status

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall, pursuant to the requirements of this section, grant blue card status to an alien who qualifies under this section if the Secretary determines that the alien—

(1)

during the 24-month period ending on December 31, 2008—

(A)

performed agricultural employment in the United States for at least 863 hours or 150 work days; or

(B)

earned at least $7,500 from agricultural employment in the United States;

(2)

applied for such status during the 18-month application period beginning on the first day of the seventh month that begins after the date of enactment of this Act;

(3)

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 section 105(b); and

(4)

has not been convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor, an element of which involves bodily injury, threat of serious bodily injury, or harm to property in excess of $500.

(b)

Authorized travel

An alien who is granted blue card status is authorized to travel outside the United States (including commuting to the United States from a residence in a foreign country) in the same manner as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(c)

Authorized employment

The Secretary shall provide an alien who is granted blue card status an employment authorized endorsement or other appropriate work permit, in the same manner as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(d)

Termination of blue card status

(1)

Deportable aliens

The Secretary shall terminate blue card status granted to an alien if the Secretary determines that the alien is deportable.

(2)

Other grounds for termination

The Secretary shall terminate blue card status granted to an alien if—

(A)

the Secretary finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the adjustment to blue card 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

(B)

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 section 105(b);

(ii)

is convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;

(iii)

is convicted of an offense, an element of which involves bodily injury, threat of serious bodily injury, or harm to property in excess of $500; or

(iv)

fails to perform the agricultural employment required under paragraph (1)(A) of section 103(a) unless the alien was unable to work in agricultural employment due to the extraordinary circumstances described in paragraph (3) of such section.

(e)

Record of employment

(1)

In general

Each employer of an alien granted blue card status shall annually—

(A)

provide a written record of employment to the alien; and

(B)

provide a copy of such record to the Secretary.

(2)

Civil penalties

(A)

In general

If the Secretary finds, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, that an employer of an alien granted blue card status has failed to provide the record of employment required under paragraph (1) or has provided a false statement of material fact in such a record, the employer shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 per violation.

(B)

Limitation

The penalty applicable under subparagraph (A) for failure to provide records shall not apply unless the alien has provided the employer with evidence of employment authorization granted under this section.

(3)

Sunset

The obligation under paragraph (1) shall terminate on the date that is 6 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(f)

Required features of identity card

The Secretary shall provide each alien granted blue card status, and the spouse and any child of each such alien residing in the United States, with a card that contains—

(1)

an encrypted, machine-readable, electronic identification strip that is unique to the alien to whom the card is issued;

(2)

biometric identifiers, including fingerprints and a digital photograph; and

(3)

physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the card for fraudulent purposes.

(g)

Fine

An alien granted blue card status shall pay a fine of $100 to the Secretary.

(h)

Maximum number

The Secretary may not issue more than 1,350,000 blue cards during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

102.

Treatment of aliens granted blue card status

(a)

In general

Except as otherwise provided under this section, an alien granted blue card status (including a spouse or child of the alien granted derivative status) 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.).

(b)

Delayed eligibility for certain Federal public benefits

Except as otherwise provided in law, an alien granted blue card status shall not be eligible, by reason of such status, for any form of assistance or benefit described in section 403(a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1613(a)) until 5 years after the date on which the alien is granted an adjustment of status under section 103.

103.

Adjustment to permanent residence

(a)

In general

Except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary shall adjust the status of an alien granted blue card status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the Secretary determines that the following requirements are satisfied:

(1)

Qualifying employment

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), the alien has performed at least—

(i)

5 years of agricultural employment in the United States for at least 100 work days per year, during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act; or

(ii)

3 years of agricultural employment in the United States for at least 150 work days per year, during the 3-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(B)

4-year period of employment

An alien shall be considered to meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) if the alien has performed 4 years of agricultural employment in the United States for at least 150 work days during 3 years of those 4 years and at least 100 work days during the remaining year, during the 4-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)

Proof

An alien may demonstrate compliance with the requirement under paragraph (1) by submitting—

(A)

the record of employment described in section 101(e); or

(B)

documentation that may be submitted under section 104(c).

(3)

Extraordinary circumstances

(A)

In general

In determining whether an alien has met the requirement of paragraph (1)(A), the Secretary may credit the alien with not more than 12 additional months of agricultural employment in the United States to meet such requirement if the alien was unable to work in agricultural employment due to—

(i)

pregnancy, injury, or disease, if the alien can establish such pregnancy, disabling injury, or disease through medical records;

(ii)

illness, disease, or other special needs of a minor child, if the alien can establish such illness, disease, or special needs through medical records;

(iii)

severe weather conditions that prevented the alien from engaging in agricultural employment for a significant period of time; or

(iv)

termination from agricultural employment, if the Secretary finds that the termination was without just cause and that the alien was unable to find alternative agricultural employment after a reasonable job search.

(B)

Effect of finding

A finding made under subparagraph (A)(iv), with respect to an alien, shall not—

(i)

be conclusive, binding, or admissible in a separate or subsequent judicial or administrative action or proceeding between the alien and a current or prior employer of the alien or any other party; or

(ii)

subject the alien's employer to the payment of attorney fees incurred by the alien in seeking to obtain a finding under subparagraph (A)(iv).

(4)

Application period

The alien applies for adjustment of status not later than 7 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(5)

Fine

The alien pays a fine of $400 to the Secretary.

(b)

Grounds for denial of adjustment of status

The Secretary shall deny an alien granted blue card status an adjustment of status under this section if—

(1)

the Secretary finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the adjustment to blue card 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

(2)

the alien—

(A)

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 section 105(b);

(B)

is convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;

(C)

is convicted of an offense, an element of which involves bodily injury, threat of serious bodily injury, or harm to property in excess of $500; or

(D)

failed to perform the agricultural employment required under paragraph (1)(A) of subsection (a) unless the alien was unable to work in agricultural employment due to the extraordinary circumstances described in paragraph (3) of such subsection.

(c)

Grounds for removal

Any alien granted blue card status who does not apply for adjustment of status under this section before the expiration of the application period described in subsection (a)(4) or who fails to meet the other requirements of subsection (a) by the end of the application period, is deportable and may be removed under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229a).

(d)

Payment of taxes

(1)

In general

Not later than the date on which an alien’s status is adjusted under this section, the alien shall establish that the alien does not owe any applicable Federal tax liability by establishing that—

(A)

no such tax liability exists;

(B)

all such outstanding tax liabilities have been paid; or

(C)

the alien has entered into an agreement for payment of all outstanding liabilities with the Internal Revenue Service.

(2)

Applicable federal tax liability

In paragraph (1) the term applicable Federal tax liability means liability for Federal taxes, including penalties and interest, owed for any year during the period of employment required under subsection (a)(1) for which the statutory period for assessment of any deficiency for such taxes has not expired.

(3)

IRS cooperation

The Secretary of the Treasury shall establish rules and procedures under which the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall provide documentation to an alien upon request to establish the payment of all taxes required by this subsection.

(e)

Spouses and minor children

(1)

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 any adjustment of status under subsection (a), including any individual who was a minor child on the date such alien was granted blue card 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.

(2)

Treatment of spouses and minor children

(A)

Granting of status and removal

The Secretary shall grant derivative status to the alien spouse and any minor child residing in the United States of an alien granted blue card status and shall not remove such derivative spouse or child during the period that the alien granted blue card status maintains such status, except as provided in paragraph (3). A grant of derivative status to such a spouse or child under this subparagraph shall not decrease the number of aliens who may receive blue card status under subsection (h) of section 101.

(B)

Travel

The derivative spouse and any minor child of an alien granted blue card status may travel outside the United States in the same manner as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(C)

Employment

The derivative spouse of an alien granted blue card status may apply to the Secretary for a work permit to authorize such spouse to engage in any lawful employment in the United States while such alien maintains blue card status.

(3)

Grounds for denial of adjustment of status and removal

The Secretary shall deny an alien spouse or child adjustment of status under paragraph (1) and may remove such spouse or child under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1229a) if the spouse or child—

(A)

commits an act that makes the alien spouse or child inadmissible to the United States under section 212 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1182), except as provided under section 105(b);

(B)

is convicted of a felony or 3 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States; or

(C)

is convicted of an offense, an element of which involves bodily injury, threat of serious bodily injury, or harm to property in excess of $500.

104.

Applications

(a)

Submission

The Secretary shall provide that—

(1)

applications for blue card status may be submitted—

(A)

to the Secretary if the applicant is represented by an attorney or a nonprofit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organization recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals under section 292.2 of title 8, Code of Federal Regulations; or

(B)

to a qualified designated entity if the applicant consents to the forwarding of the application to the Secretary; and

(2)

applications for adjustment of status under section 103 shall be filed directly with the Secretary.

(b)

Qualified designated entity defined

In this section, the term qualified designated entity means—

(1)

a qualified farm labor organization or an association of employers designated by the Secretary; or

(2)

any such other person designated by the Secretary if that Secretary determines such person is qualified and has substantial experience, demonstrated competence, and has a history of long-term involvement in the preparation and submission of applications for adjustment of status under section 209, 210, or 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1159, 1160, and 1255), the Act entitled An Act to adjust the status of Cuban refugees to that of lawful permanent residents of the United States, and for other purposes, approved November 2, 1966 (Public Law 89–732; 8 U.S.C. 1255 note), Public Law 95–145 (8 U.S.C. 1255 note), or the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (Public Law 99–603; 100 Stat. 3359) or any amendment made by that Act.

(c)

Proof of eligibility

(1)

In general

An alien may establish that the alien meets the requirement of section 101(a)(1) or 103(a)(1) 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.

(2)

Documentation of work history

(A)

Burden of proof

An alien applying for status under section 101(a) or 103(a) has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the alien has worked the requisite number of hours or days required under section 101(a)(1) or 103(a)(1), as applicable.

(B)

Timely production of records

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 subparagraph (A) may be met by securing timely production of those records under regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary.

(C)

Sufficient evidence

An alien may meet the burden of proof under subparagraph (A) to establish that the alien has performed the days or hours of work required by section 101(a)(1) or 103(a)(1) by producing sufficient evidence to show the extent of that employment as a matter of just and reasonable inference.

(d)

Applications submitted to qualified designated entities

(1)

Requirements

Each qualified designated entity shall agree—

(A)

to forward to the Secretary an application submitted to that entity pursuant to subsection (a)(1)(B) if the applicant has consented to such forwarding;

(B)

not to forward to the Secretary any such application if the applicant has not consented to such forwarding; and

(C)

to assist an alien in obtaining documentation of the alien's work history, if the alien requests such assistance.

(2)

No authority to make determinations

No qualified designated entity may make a determination required by this subtitle to be made by the Secretary.

(e)

Limitation on access to information

Files and records collected or compiled by a qualified designated entity for the purposes of this section are confidential and the Secretary shall not have access to such a file or record relating to an alien without the consent of the alien, except as allowed by a court order issued pursuant to subsection (f).

(f)

Confidentiality of information

(1)

In general

Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Secretary or any other official or employee of the Department or a bureau or agency of the Department is prohibited from—

(A)

using information furnished by the applicant pursuant to an application filed under this title, the information provided by an applicant to a qualified designated entity, or any information provided by an employer or former employer for any purpose other than to make a determination on the application or for imposing the penalties described in subsection (g);

(B)

making any publication in which the information furnished by any particular individual can be identified; or

(C)

permitting a person other than a sworn officer or employee of the Department or a bureau or agency of the Department or, with respect to applications filed with a qualified designated entity, that qualified designated entity, to examine individual applications.

(2)

Required disclosures

The Secretary shall provide the information furnished under this title or any other information derived from such furnished information to—

(A)

a duly recognized law enforcement entity in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution, if such information is requested in writing by such entity; or

(B)

an official coroner, for purposes of affirmatively identifying a deceased individual, whether or not the death of such individual resulted from a crime.

(3)

Construction

(A)

In general

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the use, or release, for immigration enforcement purposes or law enforcement purposes, of information contained in files or records of the Department pertaining to an application filed under this section, other than information furnished by an applicant pursuant to the application, or any other information derived from the application, that is not available from any other source.

(B)

Criminal convictions

Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, information concerning whether the alien applying for blue card status or an adjustment of status under section 103 has been convicted of a crime at any time may be used or released for immigration enforcement or law enforcement purposes.

(4)

Crime

Any person who knowingly uses, publishes, or permits information to be examined in violation of this subsection shall be subject to a fine in an amount not to exceed $10,000.

(g)

Penalties for false statements in applications

(1)

Criminal penalty

Any person who—

(A)

files an application for blue card status or an adjustment of status under section 103 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

(B)

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, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(2)

Inadmissibility

An alien who is convicted of a crime under paragraph (1) 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)).

(h)

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 blue card status or an adjustment of status under section 103.

(i)

Application fees

(1)

Fee schedule

The Secretary shall provide for a schedule of fees that—

(A)

shall be charged for the filing of an application for blue card status or for an adjustment of status under section 103; and

(B)

may be charged by qualified designated entities to help defray the costs of services provided to such applicants.

(2)

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 paragraph (1)(B) for services provided to applicants.

(3)

Disposition of fees

(A)

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 paragraph (1)(A).

(B)

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 blue card status or an adjustment of status under section 103.

105.

Waiver of numerical limitations and certain grounds for inadmissibility

(a)

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 section 103.

(b)

Waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility

In the determination of an alien’s eligibility for status under section 101(a) or an alien’s eligibility for adjustment of status under section 103(b)(2)(A) the following rules shall apply:

(1)

Grounds of exclusion not applicable

The provisions of paragraphs (5), (6)(A), (7), and (9) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)) shall not apply.

(2)

Waiver of other grounds

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), 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 if otherwise in the public interest.

(B)

Grounds that may not be waived

Subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), (D), (G), (H), and (I) of paragraph (2) and paragraphs (3) and (4) of such section 212(a) may not be waived by the Secretary under subparagraph (A).

(C)

Construction

Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary other than under this subparagraph to waive provisions of such section 212(a).

(3)

Special rule for determination of public charge

An alien is not ineligible for blue card status or an adjustment of status under section 103 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.

(c)

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 section 101(a)(2) and who can establish a nonfrivolous case of eligibility for blue card status (but for the fact that the alien may not apply for such status until the beginning of 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 blue card 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 blue card status during the application period described in section 101(a)(2), 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.

106.

Administrative and judicial review

(a)

In general

There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a determination respecting an application for blue card status or adjustment of status under section 103 except in accordance with this section.

(b)

Administrative review

(1)

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.

(2)

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.

(c)

Judicial review

(1)

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).

(2)

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.

107.

Use of information

Beginning not later than the first day of the application period described in section 101(a)(2), the Secretary, in cooperation with qualified designated entities (as that term is defined in section 104(b)), shall broadly disseminate information respecting the benefits that aliens may receive under this subtitle and the requirements that an alien is required to meet to receive such benefits.

108.

Regulations, effective date, authorization of appropriations

(a)

Regulations

The Secretary shall issue regulations to implement this subtitle not later than the first day of the seventh month that begins after the date of enactment of this Act.

(b)

Effective date

This subtitle shall take effect on the date that regulations required by subsection (a) are issued, regardless of whether such regulations are issued on an interim basis or on any other basis.

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to implement this subtitle, including any sums needed for costs associated with the initiation of such implementation, for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

B

Correction of Social Security Records

111.

Correction of Social Security records

(a)

In General

Section 208(e)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 408(e)(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 blue card status under the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009

; 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 before the date on which the alien was granted blue card status..

(b)

Effective Date

The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month that begins after the date of the enactment of this Act.

II

REFORM OF H–2A WORKER PROGRAM

201.

Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act

(a)

In General

Title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151 et seq.) is amended by striking section 218 and inserting the following:

218.

H–2a employer applications

(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 shall 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 has applied for 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 for an H–2A worker 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 has applied for an H–2A worker.

(E)

Requirements for placement of the 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 worksites 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.

(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 before 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 before 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 H–2A 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 H–2A 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 before 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

Before 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, 218B, and 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 worksite, 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 subsection (a). 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.

218A.

H–2a employment requirements

(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 shall accompany an application under section 218(b)(2) 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

If 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.

(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. 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

If the requirement set out in clause (ii) is satisfied, the employer may provide a reasonable housing allowance instead of offering housing under subparagraph (A). 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. 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 in agricultural 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 worksite

The employer shall provide transportation between the worker’s living quarters and the employer’s worksite 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 the enactment of the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009 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, 2009, as established by section 655.107 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations.

(C)

Required wages after 3-year freeze

(i)

First adjustment

If Congress does not set a new wage standard applicable to this section before the first March 1 that is not less than 3 years after the date of enactment of this section, the adverse effect wage rate for each State beginning on such March 1 shall be the wage rate that would have resulted if the adverse effect wage rate in effect on January 1, 2009, had been annually adjusted, beginning on March 1, 2012, by the lesser of—

(I)

the 12-month percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers between December of the second preceding year and December of the preceding year; and

(II)

4 percent.

(ii)

Subsequent annual adjustments

Beginning on the first March 1 that is not less than 4 years after the date of enactment of this section, and each March 1 thereafter, the adverse effect wage rate then in effect for each State shall be adjusted by the lesser of—

(I)

the 12-month percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers between December of the second preceding year and December of the preceding year; and

(II)

4 percent.

(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 1 or more written statements—

(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 3/4 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; and

(vi)

if piece rates of pay are used, the units produced daily.

(G)

Report on wage protections

Not later than December 31, 2011, the Comptroller General of the United States shall prepare and transmit to the Secretary of Labor, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, a report that addresses—

(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; 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:

(I)

Four representatives of agricultural employers and 1 representative of the Department of Agriculture, each appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

(II)

Four 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 December 31, 2011, 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 3/4 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 3/4 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 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)

Defined term

In this paragraph, the term uses or causes to be used

(I)

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; and

(II)

does not apply to—

(aa)

transportation provided, or transportation arrangements made, by an H–2A worker, unless the employer specifically requested or arranged such transportation; or

(bb)

car pooling arrangements made by H–2A workers themselves, using 1 of the workers’ own vehicles, unless specifically requested by the employer directly or through a farm labor contractor.

(iii)

Clarification

Providing a job offer 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.

(iv)

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.

(v)

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, section 218, or section 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.

218B.

Procedure for admission and extension of stay of h–2a workers

(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 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 not more than 1 week before the beginning of the period of employment for the purpose of travel to the worksite and a period of 14 days following the period of employment 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 not later than 7 days after an H–2A worker prematurely abandons 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 the alien’s 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

(A)

In general

An alien who is lawfully present in the United States may commence the employment described in a petition under paragraph (1) on the date on which the petition is filed.

(B)

Definition

For purposes of subparagraph (A), 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.

(C)

Handling of 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.

(D)

Approval of petition

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, goat herders, or dairy workers

Notwithstanding any provision of the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act of 2009, an alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) for employment as a sheepherder, goat herder, or dairy worker—

(1)

may be admitted for an initial period of 12 months;

(2)

subject to subsection (j)(5), may have such initial period of admission extended for a 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).

(j)

Adjustment to lawful permanent resident status for aliens employed as sheepherders, goat herders, or dairy workers

(1)

Eligible alien

For purposes of this subsection, the term eligible alien means an alien—

(A)

having nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) based on employment as a sheepherder, goat herder, or dairy worker;

(B)

who has maintained such nonimmigrant status in the United States for a cumulative total of 36 months (excluding any period of absence from the United States); and

(C)

who is seeking to receive an immigrant visa under section 203(b)(3)(A)(iii).

(2)

Classification petition

In the case of an eligible alien, the petition under section 204 for classification under section 203(b)(3)(A)(iii) may be filed by—

(A)

the alien’s employer on behalf of the eligible alien; or

(B)

the eligible alien.

(3)

No labor certification required

Notwithstanding section 203(b)(3)(C), no determination under section 212(a)(5)(A) is required with respect to an immigrant visa described in paragraph (1)(C) for an eligible alien.

(4)

Effect of petition

The filing of a petition described in paragraph (2) or an application for adjustment of status based on the approval of such a petition shall not constitute evidence of an alien’s ineligibility for nonimmigrant status under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).

(5)

Extension of stay

The Secretary shall extend the stay of an eligible alien having a pending or approved classification petition described in paragraph (2) in 1-year increments until a final determination is made on the alien’s eligibility for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(6)

Construction

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent an eligible alien from seeking adjustment of status in accordance with any other provision of law.

218C.

Worker protections and labor standards enforcement

(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 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 (G). 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 nonbinding 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

(i)

In general

Subject to clause (ii), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service $500,000 for each fiscal year to carry out this section.

(ii)

Mediation

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 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.

(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 over 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 before 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 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 an H–2A employer or any person 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.

218D.

Definitions

For purposes of this section and section 218, 218A, 218B, and 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 or the performance of agricultural labor or services described in 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

The term displace, in the case of an application with respect to 1 or more H–2A workers by an employer, means laying off a United States 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).

(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 or seasonal full-time employment at a place in the United States to which United States workers can be referred.

(9)

Laying off

(A)

In general

The term laying 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 suspension of employment 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

Except as otherwise provided, 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 national of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, 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.

.

III

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

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 pursuant to the amendment made by section 201(a) of this Act and a collection process for such fees from employers. Such fees shall be the only fees chargeable to employers for services provided under such amendment.

(b)

Determination of Schedule

(1)

In general

The schedule under subsection (a) shall reflect a fee rate based on the number of job opportunities indicated in the employer’s application under section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended 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 aliens pursuant to the amendment made by section 201(a) of 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 fees pursuant to the amendment made by section 201(a) of this Act 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—

(1)

sections 218 and 218B of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended and added, respectively, by section 201 of this Act; and

(2)

the provisions of this Act.

302.

Regulations

(a)

Requirement for the Secretary To consult

The Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Agriculture during the promulgation of all regulations to implement the duties of the Secretary under this Act and the amendments made by this Act.

(b)

Requirement for the Secretary of State To consult

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 and the amendments made by this Act.

(c)

Requirement for the Secretary of Labor To consult

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 and the amendments made by 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, 218C, and 218D of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended or added by section 201 of this Act, 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.

303.

Reports to Congress

(a)

Annual report

Not later than September 30 of each year, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that identifies, for the previous year—

(1)

the number of job opportunities approved for employment of aliens admitted under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a)), and the number of workers actually admitted, disaggregated by State and by occupation;

(2)

the number of such aliens reported to have abandoned employment pursuant to subsection (e)(2) of section 218B of such Act, as added by section 201;

(3)

the number of such aliens who departed the United States within the period specified in subsection (d) of such section 218B;

(4)

the number of aliens who applied for blue card status pursuant to section 101(a);

(5)

the number of aliens who were granted such status pursuant section 101(a);

(6)

the number of aliens who applied for an adjustment of status pursuant to section 103(a); and

(7)

the number of aliens who received an adjustment of status pursuant section 103(a).

(b)

Implementation report

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to Congress a report that describes the measures being taken and the progress made in implementing this Act.

304.

Effective date

The amendments made by section 201 and section 301 shall take effect 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.