Press release from the Office of Representative Cawthorn 11th District of North Carolina:
NC-11 Congressional Representative Madison Cawthorn voted “No” on H.R. 1603 today. Rep. Cawthorn explained his vote stating:
“One of the worst facets of partisan policymaking is when common-sense reforms are sandwiched between a left-wing legislative wish list. Such is the case with the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker visa program. There is no debate that the H-2A program needs significant reform. Increasing access, so that farmers and workers are able to meet their labor needs is incredibly important, especially in NC-11 where agriculture represents a pillar of our local economy. However, H.R. 1603 crosses the line of common-sense reform and plunges headlong into the realm of destructive policymaking.
H.R. 1603 grants mass amnesty and a path to citizenship to over one million currently illegal alien farmworkers and their spouses and children, by opening a loophole for any illegal immigrant to falsely claim agricultural employment. This bill floods the labor market with job competition for Americans. The bill allows illegal aliens to be eligible for CAW status even if they illegally reentered the U.S., committed immigration fraud, voted illegally in a federal or state election, or committed certain other crimes.
The bill also prevents illegal aliens who may be eligible for CAW status from being detained or removed. Furthermore, The bill subjects, for the first time ever, H-2A employers to a federal private right of action by H-2A employees, unfairly placing employers in the crosshairs of frivolous litigation.
I am confident that H-2A reform can occur, but not in this partisan way that implements an entirely new program focused around empowering illegal immigrants and hamstringing employers. This is a bill that does demonstrably more harm than good. I am working across the aisle, with local farmers and agriculture experts in NC-11, and Democrats and Republicans alike, to craft workable solutions to the issues facing the NC-11 agricultural community.
The importance of H-2A reform is not lost on me or my office. Before the end of my first term I will propose an alternative reform to H-2A that places the interest of local farmers first, or join a separate piece of legislation that addresses the issues in the H-2A program by simultaneously placing the interests of blue collar employers first, and upholding the rule of law.”