Perdue intervenes on Mexican worker visas, earns United Fresh praise
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue intervened with the State Department on Tuesday to minimize disruption in the H2A visa application process after state announced the U.S. embassy and consulates in the Mexico would stop processing immigrant and non-immigrant visas today, a USDA spokesperson confirmed.
“USDA is directly engaged with the State Department and working diligently to ensure minimal disruption in H2A visa applications during these uncertain times,” the spokesperson said. “This administration is doing everything possible to maintain continuity of this critically important program. The U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey announced that they will prioritize the processing of returning H-2 workers who are eligible for an interview waiver. Otherwise, the administration will continue to examine what authorities are available while ensuring public safety and health.”
United Fresh Produce Association President and CEO Tom Stenzel noted Perdue’s intervention in an email to the industry Tuesday.
“Due to the shutting down of consulates in Mexico and cross-border travel, we have seen a disruption in the processing of H2A guest workers returning to ag labor in the U.S. Thanks to some quick work by the White House and USDA, Secretary Perdue was able to get some special waivers that is helping accelerate that process. There is more work to be done, but this was a good step.”
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A new book describing the events leading up to the Beef Checkoff’s implementation and outlining a vast number of happenings since then has caused quite a stir.