March 19, 2020

Members of Congress Push State Department on H-2A Visa Processing

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.”

The letter urges Secretary Pompeo to immediately issue public guidance confirming that the State Department will:

  1. Continue processing visas for returning H-2A workers who are eligible for waivers of the in-person visa interview;
  2. Extend the availability of such waivers for returning H-2A workers who have been interviewed in the previous 2 to 3 years; and
  3. Allow new H-2A workers who are ineligible for waivers to request a visa interview under the emergency travel exception only during the duration of this crisis.

Due to the urgency of the situation, the letter asks Secretary Pompeo to respond no later than March 26th, 2020.

The nine California Members of Congress on the letter include: Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), TJ Cox (CA-21), Jim Costa (CA-16), Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Ken Calvert (CA-42) and Ted Lieu (CA-33).

Click here to read the full letter.