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Improvements made to H-2A application process

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State announced plans to streamline the H-2A application process. “Yesterday’s announcements are welcome news for our members who are now being forced to rely on the H-2A Program," Tom Nassif, Western Growers president and chief executive officer, said in a May 10 press release.

The announcements come at a time while Western Growers members are in Washington, DC, to engage with members of Congress, their staffs and agency officials on issues of importance to them and their businesses. "High on the list of those issues is simplifying the H-2A program," Nassif said in the release. "Just last month, our chairman and members of our board met with officials from each of the processing agencies to hear our concerns and solutions. We greatly appreciated their willingness to do so and are very pleased that they heard us.

"Western Growers looks forward to continued engagement with USCIS, DOS and the U.S. Department of Labor as we continue to press them on implementing our other recommended streamlining measures so that our farmers can continue to provide citizens of the U.S. and the world with the freshest and best produce on the planet,” Nassif said in the release.

In April Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said delays in processing visas for workers who tend and harvest U.S. food crops were fast approaching crisis proportions, all but guaranteeing that crops will rot in the field on many farms this year, and last year more than 1,000 workers who expected H-2A agricultural visas were unable to enter the United States from Mexico as a result of a computer failure at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, resulting in significant losses for the agriculture industry.