Farmers and farm worker advocates alike voiced disdain Wednesday for a foreign guest-worker program that's largely ignored in California, the nation's leading farm state.
But with Congress stymied, significant reform appears unlikely for the H-2A program that's faced sharp criticism from the moment of its creation in 1986.
"We are here 16 years later, and apparently little has changed," said Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Solvang.
The H-2A program enables employers to bring in foreign workers. Californians rarely use it, though they hire upward of 390,000 agricultural workers annually.
Last year, California employers obtained only about 4,500 foreign guest workers through the H-2A program. Most of the foreign workers hired in California were sheepherders, Labor Department records show.
For more, see: Guest farm worker program not working, panel told