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Opinion
Editorial: Yakama Nation guest-worker program


"While the effort may raise more questions than it answers, we still admire the initiative of a former Yakama Tribal Council member to try to deal with the problem of illegal immigration in Central Washington.

Wendell Hannigan hopes to establish a Yakama Nation guest-worker program that would require licenses or permits for nontribal members and non-U.S. citizens working on reservation lands.

The tribal council recently approved his guest-worker program and now he plans to talk to growers in hopes of getting them to cooperate.

In concept, the idea appears to have merit. Growers leasing tribal land or farming their own land could voluntarily comply with his program by submitting guest-worker information that would be compiled into a computer database.

The question becomes one of jurisdiction and coordination. For one thing, there already is a federal program, known as H2A, in which employers work with five different federal agencies to get foreign workers here if the local labor supply is insufficient. That program also includes a requirement for transportation and housing costs for guest workers and paying them a minimum wage nearly $2 an hour higher than the state's minimum wage of $8.07 an hour."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Kudos to tribe for looking into program for guest workers (The Yakima Herald-Republic 10/27)

Related Stories:
Yakama Nation approves guest-worker program (10/21)