Kansas Seeks Waiver for Undocumented Workers to Solve Farm Crisis

Details are expected to emerge this week about a bill establishing the outline of a state-managed worker program. Operating in cooperation with the federal government, it would link sponsor companies with undocumented immigrants who have been in Kansas a minimum of five years and have no criminal background. One potential candidate would be a person who entered Kansas on a visa that expired years ago.

In a move that reflects the growing agricultural labor shortage across the country, Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman has decided to seek a federal waiver that would allow Kansas dairies and feedlots desperate for workers to hire undocumented immigrants.

Rodman has met several times with officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about a pilot program that would place employers and undocumented immigrants in a special state-organized network. The goal is to create a legal, straightforward manner of organizing existing immigrant labor.

So far, DHS has neither approved nor rejected the idea.

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