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Text of the Family Farm Relief Act of 2012

This bill was introduced on September 11, 2012, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Sep 11, 2012 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6373

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 11, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Reed, and Mr. Owens) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to simplify the petitioning procedure for H–2A workers, to expand the scope of the H–2A program, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Family Farm Relief Act of 2012.

2.

Electronic filing system for H–2A petitions

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a process for receiving petitions for nonimmigrant visas under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a)). In establishing such process, the Secretary shall ensure—

(1)

that petitioners may file such petitions over the Internet on an Internet Web page of the Secretary;

(2)

that any software developed to process such petitions on such Internet Web page shall indicate to the petitioner any technical deficiency in the application prior to submission; and

(3)

that each petitioner shall be able to file such petition in a paper format.

3.

Repeal of 50-percent domestic workforce requirement

Subparagraph (B) of section 218(c)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1188(c)(3)) is repealed, and any rule made by the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out such subparagraph may not continue in effect.

4.

Prevailing Practices Survey

In the case of an employer petitioning under section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1188), the submission of a prevailing practice survey regarding employment practices shall not be required.

5.

Alteration of region of reference

Section 218(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1188(b)(3)) is amended by striking within a multi-state region of traditional or expected labor supply and inserting within an area of 150 square miles in the United States centered around the place of employment.

6.

Prohibition and repeal of certain rules

(a)

Rules regarding recruitment and referral requirement

The Secretary of Agriculture may not make any rule for purposes of carrying out section 218(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that—

(1)

requires that an employer advertise an offer of employment—

(A)

on a particular date; or

(B)

in a particular publication;

(2)

requires that an employer contact workers who the employer employed in the prior year or growing season; or

(3)

requires that an employer submit a recruitment report.

(b)

Prohibition on requirement of certification by employers

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of Homeland Security may not make any rule pertaining to a petition under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that requires an employer to provide a certification of—

(A)

recruitment advertisements; or

(B)

recruitment reports.

(2)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the authority of the Secretary to require an attestation regarding such matters from any such employer.

(c)

Repeal of existing rules

Any rule that is described in subsection (a) that is currently in effect may not continue in effect beginning on the date that is 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

7.

Inclusion of certain dairy workers

(a)

In general

Section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a)) is amended by inserting , labor as a dairy worker before , and the pressing of apples for cider.

(b)

Length of stay for dairy workers

Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1188) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(j)

Special rule for dairy workers

Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an H–2A worker who is admitted for purposes of performing labor as a dairy worker may be admitted for a period of not more than 12 months. At the end of that period, the Secretary of Homeland Security may not approve a petition to import that alien as an H–2A worker for a period of 3 months. Such a petition may be filed pertaining to that alien any number of times. Such petition may not be filed by any person who, at the time of filing, is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.

.

8.

Replacement of workers and Expedited Administrative appeals

Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1188), as amended by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(k)

replacement of workers

On receiving notice that an H–2A worker recruited or hired by an employer has prematurely abandoned employment or has failed to appear for employment, the Secretary of State shall promptly issue a visa under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) to an eligible alien designated by the employer to replace that worker and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall expeditiously admit such alien into the United States.

.

9.

Agricultural Associations and pooling of workers

Section 218(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1188(d)) is amended to read as follows:

(d)

Role of agricultural associations

(1)

Filing by agricultural association permitted

An application to hire an H–2A worker may be filed by an association of agricultural employers which use agricultural labor.

(2)

Treatment of associations acting as employers

If an association is a joint or sole employer of H–2A workers, such H–2A workers may be transferred among its members to perform agricultural labor of the same nature for which the application was approved.

(3)

Treatment of violations

(A)

Individual members

If an individual member of a joint employer association violates any condition for approval with respect to the member's application, the Secretary of Agriculture shall deny such application only with respect to that member of the association unless the Secretary determines that the association or other member participated in, had knowledge of, or had reason to know of the violation.

(B)

Association of agricultural employers

(i)

Joint employer

If an association representing agricultural employers as a joint employer violates any condition for approval with respect to the association's application, the Secretary of Agriculture shall deny such application only with respect to the association and may not apply the denial to any individual member of the association, unless the Secretary determines that the member participated in, had knowledge of, or had reason to know of the violation.

(ii)

Sole employer

If an association of agricultural employers approved as a sole employer violates any condition for approval with respect to the association's application, no individual member of the association may be the beneficiary of the services of H–2A workers admitted under this section in the occupation in which such H–2A workers were employed by the association which was denied approval during the period such denial is in force.

.

10.

GAO Report

Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report on a study—

(1)

evaluating the effects of introducing biometric identification cards to H–2A workers; and

(2)

whether the usage of such identification cards would promote efforts to efficiently enforce the immigration laws and streamline the visa application and admission process for H–2A workers.