Led by Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), nine California Congressional representatives joined a group of more than 40 bipartisan, geographically-diverse Members of Congress in responding to the Department of State’s decision to suspend routine nonimmigrant visa processing in Mexico.

In a letter to Secretary Pompeo, the bipartisan group of lawmakers express deep concern that the suspension of visa processing will have a “disastrous effect on U.S. agriculture, further endangering our nation’s food supply in this time of national crisis.”

Cory Lunde

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) included food and agriculture workers in its initial list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, which is intended to ensure “continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

Among the critical food and agriculture functions identified by CISA are farm workers and food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees.

Cory Lunde

Yesterday, WG and a coalition of more than 40 organizations representing the spectrum of U.S. agriculture issued a letter to President Trump seeking his assistance in ensuring a continued steady supply of U.S.-produced food, fiber, feed and fuel amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The letter notes the challenges American agriculture faced in 2019 – including severe weather and global trade issues – and suggests that heading into the 2020 spring planting season, the industry confronts additional uncertainties in light of government efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak.

Cory Lunde

As reported earlier this week, the U.S. Department of State suspended regular visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico in response to COVID-19. While the Administration did announce they will be prioritizing interview waiver cases for returning H-2A workers, the number of eligible workers under this protocol will still be vastly insufficient to meet the pending demand.

Cory Lunde

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