U.S. Representatives from Vermont and New York Have Dairy Worker Plan

Apr 9, 2013

Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

A congressman from New York and one from Vermont say they're going to introduce legislation to create a guest worker program for immigrants on dairy farms.

Democratic Representatives Bill Owens of northern New York and Vermont's Peter Welch say their proposal would allow immigrants to work on U.S. dairy farms for up to three years, with another three-year extension possible. The plan revises the H-2A visa program that allows businesses to hire foreign workers when domestic labor is unavailable. Dairy farmers are currently ineligible to participate in the program.

They discussed the plan Tuesday during a news conference at the Burlington International Airport.

New York Republican Representative Richard Hanna is also sponsoring the bill.

Many dairy farms in the region depend on immigrant labor, but many of those workers are in the country illegally.

Owens says there are thousands of immigrant dairy farm workers in New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.