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Global Horizons Letter to the Editor

April 17th, 2007

 Read the original article "Guest Workers Seek Global Horizons: U.S. Company Profits from Migrant Labor"

The H-2A agricultural worker program is the most protective and regulated employment program in the United States, and perhaps the world. H-2A workers must be paid no less than the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, which is higher than the Federal or any state minimum wage, currently ranging from $8.01 to $10.23 per hour. On top of that, H-2A workers do not pay federal taxes on their wages. H-2A employers are required to provide free housing, transportation, utilities, medical insurance in some states, and round trip tickets to and from the place of employment. All these benefits add up to a typical monthly saving of between $1500 and $2500 for each worker. There are not too many United States citizens or residents who can save that type of money. H-2A workers often return to their countries of origin able to purchase a new home and live a very comfortable life. The benefits to the H-2A workers is not only economic, because they also learn about American culture and state of the art agricultural technologies and practices.

However, for all these benefits no other visa or employment program receives the same scrutiny or opposition as the H-2A. Compared to H-2A workers, H-2B workers (a similar program for nonagricultural workers such as in the hotel and construction industries) do not receive even a portion of the protections and benefits of the H-2A worker. H-2B employers are not required to provide housing, transportation, round-trip tickets, nor are H-2A employers required to pay anything more than the prevailing wage. The monthly savings for the typical H-2B worker is in the neighborhood of $500 to $600 at most. Despite these differences, H-2B employers do not receive the regulatory harassment and oversight that is a constant for the H-2A employer. Most frustratingly, Global Horizons, Inc., and other H-2A employers receive this unfair treatment for apparently no reason.

For those farmers brave enough to tackle the H-2A program alone, they find themselves the targets of lawsuits and regulatory prosecutions by those entities which seek to "protect" the H-2A workers while at the same timing ensuring that the workers will ultimately never receive the benefits of the H-2A program. This itself is a form of worker exploitation as those interest groups pretending to protect undocumented workers are in fact causing far more harm to the workers, all for the sake of money.

Yet farmers and employers such as Global Horizons, Inc. are willing to endure these added obstacles and expenses in order to prevent the export of American farming to foreign countries. The agricultural industry is facing a gross injustice as the U.S. Government allows and actively promotes the interests of richer industries who utilize the cheaper H-2B program. In the meantime, the agricultural industry struggles with low incomes, competition from other countries, and local competitors, 60 to 80 percent of whom hire illegal aliens to stay in business.

Ms. Kari Lydersen's article is one part of this campaign against the H-2A program and to protect illegal immigrant and the legal groups who stand to profit from the representation of illegal aliens.

This campaign stands in direct opposition to the legitimate interest of defending this county's laws.

By instead simply embracing the H-2A program, these groups will allow otherwise undocumented workers to receive all of the benefits of the H-2A program, including: 1) dramatic increase in wages; 2) ability to freely visit their families at home; 3) no fear of complaint; and 4) benefits and protections that would not otherwise exist.

Ms. Lydersen's article is factually incorrect with respect to Global Horizons, Inc.'s Washington operations and for that matter its entire operation.

All housing that Global Horizons provided in the state of Washington was public housing, which did not need to be approved.

All workers received contracts in their native language as well as English, which is required by law.

All workers were paid on time and the amount that was deducted for taxes was paid to the IRS according to IRS instructions.

Money was wired overseas to some workers who asked only because they did not have an alternative method for sending the money home.

Global Horizons never served as a middle man. Global Horizons has always been the sole employer responsible for all employee matters.

Ms. Lydersen's assertion that illegal aliens working in construction can receive better pay than under the H-2A program is misinformed. In fact, as discussed above, H-2A workers enjoy exclusive benefits that save them enormous amounts of money.

No Global Horizons employee was ever terminated or moved for complaining about any issue. To the contrary, every complaint has been addressed with great care.

Mordechai Orian
Chief Strategic Officer
Global Horizons, Inc.

All comments and questions can be sent to Mr. Orian at mottyorian@aol.com.