Arizona Drafts Own Worker Bills

State aims to make temporary labor faster, easier; measure could be national model
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2008 10:31 AM CDT
Arizona Drafts Own Worker Bills
Francisco Chavez, right, owner of J. Chavez Harvesting LLC, cuts a broccoli stem in a field in Yuma, Ariz., March 8, 2008, alongside field workers who are part of the federal guest-worker program.   (AP Photo/Jacob Lopez)

(Newser) – Arizona is working on its own guest-worker program, hoping to supply state farmers with labor—and serve as a model for the rest of the country in the process, the Christian Science Monitor reports. But though top lawmakers are behind the measure, getting permission from the federal government—whose own guest-worker program is notoriously clunky—won’t be easy.

Arizona faces big worker shortages, which some experts blame on the state’s own tough employer sanction laws, others on the national immigration deadlock. Most agree, however, that the federal program needs to change—and Arizona is willing to experiment. “We’ve heard from lawmakers around the country who are concerned,” one expert said. “Other states are going to watch this Arizona effort.” (Read more immigration reform stories.)

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