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Weekly Column: Standing Up for Farmers, Consumers, and Southwest Michigan

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with farmers in Berrien County. Our conversation largely revolved around how rising costs are impacting the ability of farmers to stay in business. The last thing our agriculture community needs – especially considering inflation and supply chain issues – is another price increase that makes it harder for them to help feed our nation. Sadly, the Biden Administration has put forward a new fee proposal that will massively increase costs on farmers as well as consumers.

The rule, which has been proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would more than double the cost of the H-2A petition fee for named workers from $460 to $1,090 – and hike it for unnamed workers from $460 to $530. Additionally, the Biden Administration’s rule would create a new $600 per person “Asylum Program Fee” on various other work visas, including H-2A and H-2B, to directly finance our nation’s broken asylum program. These increases are on top of soaring prices for fuel, fertilizer, and other input costs. There is no logical explanation for our farmers, who are following the rules, have to pay for individuals who are breaking the law.

To stop this, I have led a bipartisan effort calling on DHS to abandon these proposed fee increases. I am happy to report that 12 of the 13 members of Michigan’s Congressional Delegation, six Democrats and six Republicans, have signed onto my letter addressing the issue. These costly fee increases, more aptly named a “Food and Fun Fee”, will significantly hurt Michigan agriculture, tourism, and the small businesses that help fuel our local economy. This will result in fewer job opportunities for Michiganders, higher prices for consumers, and downgrade our nation’s food security. Given the challenges families are already facing, such as rising food costs at the grocery store, Washington shouldn’t be making it worse.

If you need help navigating a federal agency, please visit Huizenga.House.Gov or call my office in Holland at (616) 251-6741 or in Washington at (202) 225-4401 so we can assist you. 

This column originally appeared in the Tri-City Record on Thursday, May 11th. 

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