Mar 24, 2020
H-2A visas’ assurance during pandemic sought by Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, called on the State Department to protect the nation’s food supply chain by ensuring agriculture workers are able to receive H-2A visas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ability to harvest food is critical to our nation’s food security, particularly during a national emergency,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “I ask that you consider the food security needs of our nation and take every precaution necessary to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic. Interrupting the issuance of H-2A agricultural visas – particularly for returning workers who have no inadmissibility concern – harms our national interests and may cause an interruption to our food supply in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Full text of the letter follows:

March 20, 2020

The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

I am writing to express my concern about the State Department’s decision to suspend visa processing at the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico relating specifically to the issuance of agricultural visas. While the Department has said it will prioritize the processing of returning workers, there are specific steps that should be taken to further streamline this process.

The ability to harvest food is critical to our nation’s food security, particularly during a national emergency. I ask that you consider the food security needs of our nation and take every precaution necessary to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic. Interrupting the issuance of H-2A agricultural visas – particularly for returning workers who have no inadmissibility concern – harms our national interests and may cause an interruption to our food supply in the midst of a global pandemic.

I respectfully request that the State Department recognize H-2A visas as “essential,” and prioritize processing and waive in-person interviews for returning H-2A workers who have received an H-2A visa in the last two years.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator


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