For the men stepping off the bus - some of whom have worked on his crew for years - this could be the last season.
Opponents of the H-2B visa programme say the foreign workers steal American jobs and drive down wages.
Congress did not renew a 2016 rule that exempted “returning” workers from the annual H-2B cap, effectively cutting available visas from 85,000 to 66,000.
The first day on the job for the 39 new hires at Jesus “Chuy” Medrano's landscaping firm started as soon as they stumbled off the bus in the early morning, groggy and stiff from the 13-hour trip from the Mexico border. ” Medrano joked in Spanish - before the men had a chance to use the bathroom or eat breakfast.
The 63-year-old grandfather, wearing a cowboy hat, stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and grinned.
Medrano, too, says he would prefer to hire locally.
Importing temporary labor exposes his company to too much uncertainty every year.
They earn, on average, the equivalent of $100 a week.
That's when the work is steady, which it often isn't.
He welcomed his best workers back to Co Cal just before Labour Day.
He recognised himself in these men, whose stories and economic fates are intertwined with his.
But he later decided that it was not worth risking his business by breaking the law.