Trump Administration Takes Steps to Get Farmworkers into the Country – Modern Farmer
Figuring out how to get enough workers to keep the American agriculture industry going has always been hard, and it’s much harder in the age of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, the embassy and consulates in Mexico were shut down due to the coronavirus. Those facilities were needed to process the H-2A visa, which provides hundreds of thousands of temporary agricultural workers to American farms. This, obviously, prompted some panic about how American farmers—already understaffed—would survive.
A quick attempt was made to facilitate the H-2A holders’ movement within the US, but with tens of thousands waiting in Mexico—which provides by far the most temporary foreign farmworkers—that was not seen as sufficient. Clearly some method of getting those farmworkers to the US was needed; they are essential workers in the most basic of ways, providing the food this country needs.
This week, the State Department decided to temporarily waive in-person applications for H-2A and H-2B (the latter is non-agricultural) workers. A USDA spokesperson wrote in an email, “the Department has advised that H-2 applications are ‘mission critical’ and should continue to be processed to the extent permitted by post resources and local government restrictions.”
There are 2.5 million immigrant farmworkers in US fields, picking foods and processing them for US consumers.
What happens if they are too afraid to come to the US and do this hard work?
Why are they not provided with healthcare, as a RIGHT?