Jun 17, 2015Visa problems delaying farm workers coming to Washington
According to multiple new organizations, foreign guest workers are getting stuck at the border with visa problems – and the Washington cherry harvest is right around the corner.
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, has sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, asking for their help to clear the backlog caused by computer problems at the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana and let in hundreds of Mexican workers on an H-2A guest worker visa, designed to give American farms access to seasonal labor they struggle to find domestically.
Newhouse is asking the two officials to provide emergency relief to farmers who have contracted the H-2A workers, give the H-2A workers priority once the computer problems are fixed and find a permanent solution to make the foreign workforce more reliable.
Similar problems happened last July.
In the letter, Newhouse wrote, “What is most disturbing is this is not the first time a technical issue has halted the ability of consulates to be able to issue H-2A visas. When a similar situation happened last year, approved farmworkers heading to Washington’s 4th Congressional District received emergency entrance. The fact that this infrastructure has not been fixed and is again causing delays is deplorable.”
According to the Yakima Herald, “The U.S. Department of State has been experiencing global technical problems with visa applicant screening that won’t be fixed before next week.”