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June 25, 2015

Some H-2A Workers Still Stuck at the Border

Yesterday, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif appeared on Bloomberg Television to urge immediate remedies related to a computer hardware “glitch” that has prevented the processing of thousands of U.S. visas around the world since June 9. The glitch affected applications for H-2A agricultural workers needed in, California, Arizona, Washington and other parts of the U.S.

Nassif also reiterated the need for Congress to take steps on immigration reform legislation that would legalize the existing ag workforce. He said that many legislators want to fix the problem, but don’t have the votes to make it happen.

While there are reports that some ag workers have been processed and are on-the-job, some remain stranded in border towns, according to WG members affected by the crisis. In the Wall Street Journal today, Miriam Jordan reported that the computer glitch has been partially solved and quotes a state department spokeswoman saying that “45,000 visas were issued by Wednesday,” (yesterday) and that 1,750 seasonal agricultural workers who had been stuck at the border have been issued visas. The glitch affected the flow of applicant’s biometric information, such as fingerprints.