New Guestworker Legislation Push by Texas Congressman Tony Gonzalez
Denise Gentsch, TSTA Legislative Director
Tony Gonzalez, a San Antonio Republican, represents TX -23 a sprawling 66% of the Texas border from southeast of Eagle Pass to El Paso and understands the ongoing chaos of immigrants flooding the Texas border and its effect on Texas communities and citizens in his district. He also has concern for the bureaucratic quagmire that has slowed down the necessary H-2A guestworker program and employers who do not have the workers they need to continue operations.
Representative Gonzalez has filed a bill known as the HIRE Act to address the immediate problems of the guestworker program. TSTA staff were on a Texas Agricultural Council call with Congressman Gonzalez this week to discuss the details of his legislation. The House member described a three-page bill, the HIRE Act, designed to improve a few key provisions of the H-2A program and achieve successful hiring of vetted guestworkers by U.S. employers. Work visas would increase from one to three years therefore reducing the cost of reapplication each year. Paperwork would be streamlined by using online applications to increase timely processing. Knowing the history of Congressional efforts to reform this program in conjunction with border security and immigration, Representative Gonzalez, seeks to pass legislation that is possible in the 118th Congress. He is building a bi partisan coalition of members necessary to achieve successful passage including 9 Democrats and 19 Republicans who represent border and non border districts whose states rely on immigrant labor.
Congressman Gonzalez needs 200 co-sponsors to pass the HIRE Act this Congress. TSTA is asking for individual effort to communicate with members of Congress throughout the state and the country. Contact the TSTA office for more information to support this critical reform. 512 944 5052. Thank you.