Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson.

Frustrations are mounting as Washington farmers who rely heavily on the H2A visa program to find seasonal workers meet with lengthy processing delays ...

DAN FAZIO ... "When the H2A program works well it's wonderful, but it does rely on many government entities working together and there can be issues with those agencies. This past year, the biggest issue for us, from an agency perspective, was with a branch of the Department of Homeland Securities called USCIS or Citizenship and Immigration Services."

But WAFLA's Dan Fazio says things are moving too slowly and are hurting both farmers and workers ...

DAN FAZIO ... "This agency is a crucial cog because it provides employers with the Visa application which is necessary to set up appointments at the consulate for the workers. So right now, we've got issues with this agency and we're attempting to meet with them to iron things out."

Fazio says they've discussed ways to streamline the process with CIS, but some of the answers seem obvious ...

DAN FAZIO ... "Remarkably, CSI does not have a reliable system that they can use to notify employers of problems. It might shock people to know that they just snail mail or use the U.S. Postal Service to notify you of a problem when in fact that is not going to work a time sensitive matter like the H2A program."

Fazio says they have asked for a phone number or email address of someone to call when a problem comes up, but have so far been denied.

Listen to tomorrow's Fruit Grower Report and find out the potential toll these delays are having on growers.

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