With the possibility of additional H2A processing delays threatening farming operations in California, Arizona and elsewhere, WG board members flew to Washington, D.C. and met with representatives from the three federal agencies responsible for processing applications.
Board members used the opportunity to highlight the increasing usage of H-2A and why there is every expectation the program will only continue to grow in usage, particularly in places like California where it has historically had little use, now that there are no other alternatives.
With regard to process issues, the group laid out the particular challenges faced by applicants at each agency as well as the delays related to processing applications via multiple agencies. Board members also pressed the agencies not only for more efficient and timely processing, but also to establish direct communication channels for resolving issues and developing a more robust interagency task force to deal with issues in an ongoing manner.
WG Chairman Larry Cox of Lawrence Cox Ranches, Brawley, Calif; Craig Reade, Bonipak, Santa Maria, Calif.; Joe “Sonny” Rodriguez, The Growers Company Inc., Somerton, Ariz.; Jack Vessey, The Vessey and Company, Holtville, Calif.; and WG President and CEO Tom Nassif presented officials from the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of State (State), and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with their concerns while also suggesting specific processing fixes each agency could undertake.
Agencies were informed that H-2A processing delays will be a top discussion item for the WG Board fly-in next month and that these issues will be part of the discussions with members of Congress during that visit.
Look for more information on these issues raised in these meetings in a guest Spotlight piece next week!
For more information, contact Ken Barbic at (202) 296-0191.