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Published on June 12, 2024
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Sues Biden Administration Over Alleged Favoritism in Agricultural Labor RightsSource: Google Street View

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with a group of fellow state attorneys general, is taking the Biden Administration's Department of Labor to court. The bone of contention is a recent DOL regulation that, according to Paxton, unfairly provides foreign workers with greater rights than their American counterparts in the agricultural sector. Announced in April, the new rule allows foreign nationals working in the U.S. under the H-2A visa to unionize and collectively bargain – privileges not currently extended to American agricultural workers under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Historically, the agricultural industry has been exempt from the collective bargaining rights that the National Labor Relations Act bestowed upon certain workers. Despite this nearly 90-year precedent, the Biden Administration's latest move is perceived by some as an attempt to circumvent congressional authority. This is evidenced in Attorney General Paxton's legal action, which seeks to halt the roll-out of the rule that Paxton describes as "arbitrary and capricious agency action," according to a statement from the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Joining forces with states like Kansas, Texas has requested injunctive relief to keep the DOL rule from coming into force. The coalition argues that the rule breaches the rights of American workers by deliberately privileging those within the H-2A guestworker visa program. "Joe Biden is using his bureaucratic machinery to favor immigrants who are in the country on temporary visas by unilaterally granting them rights that are not enjoyed by American citizens working in the same industry," Paxton was quoted as saying. His sharp critique reflects a broader debate over labor rights and immigration policy under the Biden Administration.