The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Commerce have jointly announced new immigration measures intended to improve border security, step up enforcement of immigration laws, streamline existing guest worker programs and address the failures of the current immigration system.The new requirements take effect in 30 days.

The announcement provides that new regulations will be proposed to simplify the process of employing aliens under the H-2A and H-2B programs, which may prove benefi cial to the horse industry. But the plan to more forcefully pursue enforcement of sanctions against employers for employing alien workers with faulty documents is raising concerns among employers of these low-skilled workers. Many employers in the horse industry use the H-2A and H-2B programs to employ willing alien employees.

As you know, the Senate could not agree on comprehensive immigration reform legislation earlier this summer. It has been suggested that the Departments did not adopt the new rules while Congress was debating broad immigration reform. But when Congress could not pass broad legislation, the Administration decided to move forward with the new rules.