Yakama Nation guest worker program debated
The Yakama Nation of Washington is starting a program to register workers on the reservation but some business owners are questioning the idea.

Mike Gempler of Washington Growers League said the tribe is proposing too high of a fee to participate. Businesses would pay $1,000 a year per worker to help maintain a database of immigrant workers.

With an estimated 12,600 workers on the reservation, that would bring $12.6 million a year to Schaptakay Labor Works, a company the tribal council set up to run the program. Gempler said businesses wouldn't benefit at all from the effort.

The tribe can track workers, a spokesperson for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, but can't bring them in from other countries. But it's not clear whether the tribe can force non-Indian businesses to participate in the program.

Get the Story:
Guest worker program: Legal work force or just new taxes? (The Yakima Herald-Republic 11/17)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Yakama Nation guest-worker program (10/27)
Yakama Nation approves guest-worker program (10/21)