Foreign Worker Proposal Excludes Dairy Farmers

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(Host) The U.S. Labor Department has proposed new rules that would permit foreigners to work in American agricultural industries.

But the proposal does not include dairy workers. And Senator Patrick Leahy says that’s a major shortcoming because foreign labor is needed on dairy farms.

(Leahy) "We have a system that’s broken. It does not work for anybody. Everybody knows it’s a bad system. I was hoping the Department of Labor would fix it. They didn’t, so we’ll try to make a legislative fix."

(Host) Leahy says he’ll introduce a bill that would create a new visa allowing foreign citizens to work on an American dairy farm for up to three years.

Under Labor Department rules, migrant labor is permitted to work in the United States only seasonally. But dairy farm workers are needed year-round.

Leahy says the new Labor Department rules permit some foreign workers to stay in the United States year-round. They include those in the logging industry.  He says the dairy industry should be treated the same.

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