Text: H.R.3604 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3604 Introduced in House (IH)]







108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3604

  To simplify the process for admitting temporary alien agricultural 
   workers under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and 
  Nationality Act, to increase access to such workers, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           November 21, 2003

 Mr. Goodlatte (for himself, Mr. Stenholm, Mr. Lucas of Oklahoma, Mr. 
    Gutknecht, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Gallegly, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Burns, Mr. 
   Chocola, Mr. Nethercutt, Mr. Smith of Michigan, Mr. Kingston, Mr. 
Bartlett of Maryland, Mr. Brown of South Carolina, Mr. Upton, Mr. Camp, 
   Mr. Young of Alaska, Mr. Collins, Mr. Baker, Mrs. Jo Ann Davis of 
   Virginia, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Forbes, Mr. Garrett of New Jersey, Mr. 
  Herger, Mr. Hoekstra, Mr. Janklow, Mr. Jones of North Carolina, Mr. 
Keller, Mrs. Miller of Michigan, Mr. Oxley, Mr. Souder, Mr. Tiberi, and 
 Mr. Wicker) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
    Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on 
Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, 
 in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the 
                jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To simplify the process for admitting temporary alien agricultural 
   workers under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) of the Immigration and 
  Nationality Act, to increase access to such workers, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Temporary Agricultural Labor Reform 
Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. ADMISSION OF TEMPORARY H-2A WORKERS.

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

                 ``admission of temporary h-2a workers

    ``Sec. 218. (a) Application.--No alien may be admitted as an H-2A 
worker (as defined in subsection (x)(2)) unless the employer has filed 
with the Secretary of Labor an application stating the following:
            ``(1) Temporary or seasonal labor or services.--The 
        agricultural employment for which the H-2A worker or workers is 
        or are sought is temporary or seasonal, the number of workers 
        sought, and the wage rate and conditions under which they will 
        be employed.
            ``(2) Benefits, wage, and working conditions.--The employer 
        will provide, at a minimum, the benefits, wages, and working 
        conditions required by subsection (n) to all workers employed 
        in the jobs for which the H-2A worker or workers is or are 
        sought and to all other workers in the same occupation at the 
        place of employment.
            ``(3) 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 during a period of 30 days preceding the period of 
        employment in the occupation at the place of employment for 
        which the employer seeks approval to employ H-2A workers.
            ``(4) Positive recruitment.--The employer has made positive 
        recruitment efforts within a multi-state region of traditional 
        or expected labor supply. The obligation to engage in positive 
        recruitment under this paragraph shall terminate on the date 
        the H-2A workers depart for the employer's place of employment.
            ``(5) Offers to united states workers.--The employer has 
        offered or will offer the job for which the nonimmigrant is, or 
        the nonimmigrants are, sought to any eligible United States 
        worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the 
        job and who will be available at the time and place of need.
            ``(6) 50 percent rule.--The employer will provide 
        employment to any qualified United States worker who applies to 
        the employer until 50 percent of the period of the work 
        contract under which the H-2A worker who is in the job was 
        hired has elapsed.
            ``(7) Provision of insurance.--If the job for which the 
        nonimmigrant is, or the nonimmigrants are, sought is not 
        covered by 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 workers' compensation law for 
        comparable employment.
            ``(8) Requirements for placement of h-2a workers with other 
        employers.--The employer will not place the nonimmigrant with 
        another employer unless--
                    ``(A) the nonimmigrant performs duties in whole or 
                in part at 1 or more work sites owned, operated, or 
                controlled by such other employer;
                    ``(B) there are indicia of an employment 
                relationship between the nonimmigrant and such other 
                employer; and
                    ``(C) 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.
            ``(9) Strike or lockout.--There is not a strike or lockout 
        in the course of a labor dispute which, under regulations 
        promulgated by the Secretary of Labor, precludes the provision 
        of the certification described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
            ``(10) Previous violations.--The employer has not, during 
        the previous two-year period, employed H-2A workers and 
        substantially violated a material term or condition of approval 
        with respect to the employment of domestic or nonimmigrant 
        workers, as determined by the Secretary of Labor after notice 
        and opportunity for a hearing.
    ``(b) Statement of Liability.--The application form shall include a 
clear statement explaining the liability under this section of a 
employer who places an H-2A worker with another employer if the other 
employer displaces a United States worker in violation of the condition 
described in subsection (a)(8).
    ``(c) Publication.--The employer shall make available for public 
examination, within one working day after the date on which an 
application under this paragraph 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).
    ``(d) List.--The Secretary shall compile, on a current basis, a 
list (by employer) of the applications filed under subsection (a). Such 
list shall include the wage rate, number of aliens sought, period of 
intended employment, and date of need. The Secretary shall make such 
list available for public examination in Washington, DC.
    ``(e) Special Rules for Consideration of Applications.--The 
following rules shall apply in the case of the filing and consideration 
of an application under subsection (a):
            ``(1) Deadline for filing applications.--The Secretary of 
        Labor may not require that the application be filed more than 
        45 days before the first date the employer requires the labor 
        or services of the H-2A worker or workers.
            ``(2) Review.--The Secretary of Labor shall review such an 
        application only for completeness and obvious inaccuracies.
            ``(3) Issuance of approval.--Unless the Secretary finds 
        that the application is incomplete or obviously inaccurate, the 
        Secretary shall provide the certification described in section 
        101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) within 7 days of the date of the filing of 
        the application.
    ``(f) Roles of Agricultural Associations.--
            ``(1) Permitting filing by agricultural associations.--An 
        application to import an alien as a temporary agricultural 
        worker may be filed by an association of agricultural producers 
        which use agricultural services.
            ``(2) Treatment of associations acting as employers.--If an 
        association is a joint or sole employer of temporary 
        agricultural workers, such workers may be transferred among its 
        producer members to perform agricultural services of a 
        temporary or seasonal nature for which the application was 
        approved.
            ``(3) Treatment of violations.--
                    ``(A) Member's violation does not necessarily 
                disqualify association or other members.--If an 
                individual producer member of a joint employer 
                association is determined to have committed an act that 
                is in violation of the conditions for approval with 
                respect to the member's application, the denial shall 
                apply only to that member of the association unless the 
                Secretary determines that the association or other 
                member participated in, had knowledge of, or reason to 
                know of, the violation.
                    ``(B) Association's violation does not necessarily 
                disqualify members.--
                            ``(i) If an association representing 
                        agricultural producers as a joint employer is 
                        determined to have committed an act that is in 
                        violation of the conditions for approval with 
                        respect to the association's application, the 
                        denial shall apply only to the association and 
                        does not apply to any individual producer 
                        member of the association unless the Secretary 
                        determines that the member participated in, had 
                        knowledge of, or reason to know of, the 
                        violation.
                            ``(ii) If an association of agricultural 
                        producers approved as a sole employer is 
                        determined to have committed an act that is in 
                        violation of the conditions for approval with 
                        respect to the association's application, no 
                        individual producer member of such association 
                        may be the beneficiary of the services of 
                        temporary alien agricultural workers admitted 
                        under this section in the commodity and 
                        occupation in which such aliens were employed 
                        by the association which was denied approval 
                        during the period such denial is in force, 
                        unless such producer member employs such aliens 
                        in the commodity and occupation in question 
                        directly or through an association which is a 
                        joint employer of such workers with the 
                        producer member.
    ``(g) Expedited Administrative Appeals of Certain Determinations.--
Regulations shall provide for an expedited procedure for the review of 
a denial of approval under this section, or at the applicant's request, 
for a de novo administrative hearing respecting the denial.
    ``(h) Miscellaneous Provisions.--
            ``(1) Withholding of domestic workers.--No person or entity 
        shall willfully and knowingly withhold domestic workers prior 
        to the arrival of H-2A workers in order to force the hiring of 
        domestic workers under subsection (a)(6).
            ``(2) Endorsement of documents.--The Secretary of Homeland 
        Security shall provide for the endorsement of entry and exit 
        documents of nonimmigrants described in section 
        101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) as may be necessary to carry out this 
section and to provide notice for purposes of section 274A.
            ``(3) Preemption of state laws.--The provisions of 
        subsections (a) and (c) of section 214 and the provisions of 
        this section preempt any State or local law regulating 
        admissibility of nonimmigrant workers.
            ``(4) Fees.--The Secretary of Labor may require by 
        regulation, as a condition of approving the application, the 
        payment of a fee to recover the reasonable costs of processing 
        applications.
    ``(i) Failures To Meet Conditions.--If the Secretary of Labor 
finds, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, a failure to meet a 
condition of subsection (a), or a material misrepresentation of fact in 
an application under subsection (a)--
            ``(1) 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
            ``(2) the Secretary may disqualify the employer from the 
        employment of H-2A workers for a period of 1 year.
    ``(j) 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 subsection (a), or a willful 
misrepresentation of a material fact in an application under subsection 
(a), or a violation of subsection (h)(1)--
            ``(1) 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;
            ``(2) the Secretary of Labor may seek appropriate legal or 
        equitable relief to effectuate the purposes of subsection 
        (h)(1); and
            ``(3) the Secretary may disqualify the employer from the 
        employment of H-2A workers for a period of 2 years.
    ``(k) 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 subsection (a) or a willful 
misrepresentation of a material fact in an application under subsection 
(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 subsection (a) 
or during the period of 30 days preceding such period of employment--
            ``(1) 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
            ``(2) the Secretary may disqualify the employer from the 
        employment of H-2A workers for a period of 3 years.
    ``(l) Limitations on Civil Money Penalties.--The Secretary of Labor 
shall not impose total civil money penalties with respect to an 
application under subsection (a) in excess of $90,000.
    ``(m) 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 subsection (a)(2) 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 subsection (a)(2) shall be equal to the difference between the 
amount that should have been paid and the amount that actually was paid 
to such worker.
    ``(n) Minimum Benefits, Wages, and Working Conditions.--
            ``(1) 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.
            ``(2) Required wages.--
                    ``(A) An employer applying for workers under 
                subsection (a) shall offer to pay, and shall pay, all 
                workers in the occupation for which the employer has 
                applied for workers, not less than the prevailing wage.
                    ``(B) In complying with subparagraph (A), an 
                employer may request and obtain a prevailing wage 
                determination from the State employment security 
                agency.
                    ``(C) In lieu of the procedure described in 
                subparagraph (B), an employer may rely on other wage 
                information, including a survey of the prevailing wages 
                of workers in the occupation in the area of intended 
                employment that has been conducted or funded by the 
                employer or a group of employers, that meets criteria 
                specified by the Secretary of Labor in regulations.
                    ``(D) An employer who obtains such prevailing wage 
                determination, or who relies on a qualifying survey of 
                prevailing wages, and who pays the wage determined to 
                be prevailing, shall be considered to have complied 
                with the requirement of subparagraph (A).
                    ``(E) No worker shall be paid less than the greater 
                of the prevailing wage or the applicable State minimum 
                wage.
            ``(3) Requirement to provide housing or a housing 
        allowance.--
                    ``(A) In general.--An employer applying for workers 
                under subsection (a) 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) 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.
                    ``(D) 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.
                    ``(E) Housing allowance as alternative.--
                            ``(i) In general.--In lieu of offering 
                        housing pursuant to subparagraph (A), the 
                        employer may provide a reasonable housing 
                        allowance, but only if the requirement of 
                        clause (ii) is satisfied. 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. 
                        However, 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 at farm 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.
            ``(4) Reimbursement of transportation.--
                    ``(A) To place of employment.--A worker 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 (5)(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 
                work site.--The employer shall provide transportation 
                between the worker's living quarters (i.e., housing 
                provided by the employer pursuant to paragraph (1), 
                including housing provided through a housing allowance) 
                and the employer's work site without cost to the 
                worker, and such transportation will be in accordance 
                with applicable laws and regulations.
            ``(5) Guarantee of employment.--
                    ``(A) Offer to worker.--The employer shall 
                guarantee to offer the worker employment for the hourly 
                equivalent of at least three-fourths 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 `three-
                fourths 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 but not 
                limited to 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.
    ``(o) 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 must file a petition 
with the Secretary. The petition shall be accompanied by the 
certification described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
    ``(p) Expedited Adjudication by the Secretary.--The Secretary shall 
establish a procedure for expedited adjudication of petitions filed 
under subsection (o) 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.
    ``(q) Disqualification.--
            ``(1) Subject to paragraph (2), 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, violated a term 
        or condition of admission into the United States as a 
        nonimmigrant, including overstaying the period of authorized 
        admission.
            ``(2) Waivers.--
                    ``(A) In general.--An alien outside the United 
                States, and seeking admission under section 
                101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) shall not be deemed inadmissible 
                under such section by reason of paragraph (1) or 
                section 212(a)(9)(B). A waiver under this subparagraph 
                may be granted only once to an individual alien.
                    ``(B) Limitation.--In any case in which an alien is 
                admitted to the United States upon having a ground of 
                inadmissibility waived under subparagraph (A), such 
                waiver shall be considered to remain in effect unless 
                the alien again violates a material provision of this 
                section or otherwise violates a term or condition of 
                admission into the United States as a nonimmigrant, in 
                which case such waiver shall terminate.
    ``(r) Period of Admission.--
            ``(1) In general.--The alien shall be admitted for the 
        period of employment in the application under subsection (a), 
        not to exceed 10 months, supplemented by a period of up to 1 
        week before the beginning of the period of employment (to be 
        granted for the purpose of travel to the work site) and a 
        period of 14 days following the period of employment (to be 
        granted 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.
    ``(s) 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 
        within 7 days of an H-2A worker's having prematurely abandoned 
        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.
    ``(t) Replacement of Alien.--
            ``(1) In general.--Upon presentation of the notice to the 
        Secretary required by subsection (q)(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 subsection 
                (a)(6), 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.
    ``(u) 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 such 
        person's proper 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.
    ``(v) 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 (o) shall request an extension of the 
        alien's stay and a change in the alien's employment.
            ``(2) Limitation on filing 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 2 years after the 
                date of the alien's last admission to the United States 
                under this section.
            ``(3) Work authorization upon filing petition for extension 
        of stay.--In the case of an alien who is lawfully present in 
        the United States, the alien is authorized to commence the 
        employment described in a petition under paragraph (1) on the 
        date on which the petition is filed. For purposes of the 
        preceding sentence, 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. 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. 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 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 2 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.
    ``(w) Special Rules for Aliens Employed as Sheepherders.--
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, aliens admitted 
under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a) for employment as sheepherders--
            ``(1) may be admitted for a period of 12 months; and
            ``(2) shall not be subject to the requirements of 
        subsection (v)(4)(B).
    ``(x) Definitions.--For purposes of this section:
            ``(1) Area of employment.--The term `area of employment' 
        means the area within normal commuting distance of the worksite 
        or physical location where the work of the H-2A worker is or 
        will be performed. If such worksite or location is within a 
        Metropolitan Statistical Area, any place within such area is 
        deemed to be within the area of employment.
            ``(2) Eligible individual.--The term `eligible individual' 
        means, with respect to employment, an individual who is not an 
        unauthorized alien (as defined in section 274A(h)(3)) with 
        respect to that employment.
            ``(3) Displace.--In the case of an application with respect 
        to one or more H-2A workers by an employer, the employer is 
        considered to `displace' a United States worker from a job if 
        the employer lays off the worker from a job that is essentially 
        the equivalent of the job for which the H-2A worker or workers 
        is or are sought. A job shall not be considered to be 
        essentially equivalent of another job unless it involves 
        essentially the same responsibilities, was held by a United 
        States worker with substantially equivalent qualifications and 
        experience, and is located in the same area of employment as 
        the other job.
            ``(4) H-2A worker.--The term `H-2A worker' means a 
        nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a).
            ``(5) Lays off.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The term `lays 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, or the expiration of a grant or 
                        contract (other than a temporary employment 
                        contract entered into in order to evade a 
                        condition described in paragraph (3) or (8) of 
                        subsection (a); 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 subsection (a)(8), 
                        with either employer described in such 
                        subsection) 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) Construction.--Nothing in this paragraph is 
                intended to limit an employee's rights under a 
                collective bargaining agreement or other employment 
                contract.
            ``(6) Prevailing wage.--The term `prevailing wage' means, 
        with respect to an agricultural occupation in an area of 
        intended employment, the rate of wages that includes the 51st 
        percentile of employees with similar experience and 
        qualifications in the agricultural occupation in the area of 
        intended employment, expressed in terms of the prevailing 
        method of pay for the occupation in the area of intended 
        employment.
            ``(7) United states worker.--The term `United States 
        worker' means an employee who--
                    ``(A) is a citizen or national of the United 
                States; or
                    ``(B) is an alien who is lawfully admitted for 
                permanent residence, is admitted as a refugee under 
                section 207, is granted asylum under section 208, or is 
                an immigrant otherwise authorized, by this Act or by 
                the Secretary of Homeland Security, to be employed.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendment.--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 striking ``seasonal nature, or (b)'' and inserting 
``seasonal nature, and with respect to whom the Secretary of Labor 
determines and certifies to the Secretary of Homeland Security that the 
intending employer has filed with the Secretary an application under 
section 218(a), or (b)''.
    (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take 
effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.

SEC. 3. EMERGENCY GRANTS TO ASSIST EMPLOYERS WITH H-2A TRANSPORTATION 
              COSTS.

    Subtitle D of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 
U.S.C. 1981 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 379E. EMERGENCY GRANTS TO ASSIST EMPLOYERS WITH H-2A 
              TRANSPORTATION COSTS.

    ``(a) In General.--The Secretary of Agriculture may make grants, 
not to exceed $1,000,000 annually, to employers of H-2A workers for the 
purpose of reimbursing the employers for the amounts paid to H-2A 
workers under section 218(n)(4)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality 
Act (8 U.S.C. 1188) 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 but not limited to a flood, 
hurricane, freeze, earthquake, fire, drought, plant or animal disease 
or pest infestation, or regulatory drought.
    ``(b) Funding.--The grants described in subsection (a) shall be 
made out of the funds, facilities and authorities of the Commodity 
Credit Corporation to the extent that such funds are provided in 
advance through an appropriations act.''.

SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF H-2A OMBUDSMAN.

    Subtitle D of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 
U.S.C. 1981 et seq.), as amended by section 3 of this Act, is amended 
by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 379F. ESTABLISHMENT OF H-2A OMBUDSMAN.

    ``Ombu