Trying To Use H2-A.
It has been a very difficult time for ag producers trying to use the H2-A program. A recent complication at the border kept dozens of workers stuck on the Mexico side of the border. Roxana Macias, Program Manager for the wafla Guest Worker Programs says that while those workers have finally arrived in the state to begin work, others have been experiencing issues.
MACIAS: The visa printing system seems to be working okay at the Department of State but we had some notification that Customs and Border Protection was unable to print our work authorization cards.
That issue was resolved Tuesday in the late afternoon. But this does highlight the problems with the H2-A program.
MACIAS: Basically what we're looking at is two competing systems. You have the legal worker program that brings in about 120-thousand agricultural workers during the year and then you have the competing system which is the undocumented immigration and right now for workers it's much easier to go the undocumented route than it is to go the documented route and that's why we find ourselves here
She also says any workable guest worker program needs to have an emergency provision.
MACIAS: That the government understands that these visas are on-time visas. They're not something that can wait. Crops don't wait, they're ready when they're ready. In a nutshell, the H2-A program is a series of 6 government entities, none of which holds responsibility for the outcome of the program as a whole.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.