Current Maine law bars employers from hiring workers on H-2A agricultural guestworker visas to haul forestry products between two points within the state. The federal H-2A visa program, however, allows employers to hire foreign guestworker for “temporary or seasonal agricultural work if they cannot find US workers to fill those jobs.”
In Maine Forest Products Council v. Cormier, the state claims that the regulation has no relation to the federal program regarding who may or may not enter legally the country. Instead, the regulation applies specifically and narrowly to who may perform particular jobs in Maine.
Pierce Atwood litigation partner Nolan Reichl, representing the plaintiffs, Maine Forest Products Council, states, “There is no daylight between immigration status and job opportunity here. This isn’t a chain of dominoes that has to fall to bar the immigration from occurring. It’s the first domino; it’s the only domino.” Nolan added, “The federal visa program couldn’t operate if states were free to selectively decide industry-by-industry who could be employed.”