A recent State Department move is expected to speed approval of farmworkers seeking to enter the country, but observers of the process are still keeping a watchful eye on many parts of the H-2A program.
Now that President Donald Trump has signed the historic $2 trillion economic relief package into law, work now turns to getting the money out as quickly as possible. “This doesn’t do anybody any good if it takes a long time,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CBS Face the Nation on Sunday.
The State Department agreed to accelerate approvals of H-2A farm workers by waiving interviews for many applicants, a move welcomed by agricultural groups who feared that embassy cutbacks amid the COVID-19 pandemic would leave farms without needed labor.
Farm groups are appealing to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to take steps to speed the approval of H-2A workers following his department’s suspension of regular visa processing services in Mexico because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says there is less than a 10% chance that farmers will get more Market Facilitation Program payments this year and that China is sending “signals” it intends to honor its pledges to ramp up purchases of U.S. farm commodities.
As the presidential primary season kicks off this week, President Donald Trump will use his State of the Union message to try to sell the public on the strength of the economy and the progress he's made on trade policy.