Trump spares H-2A program in latest immigration pause


by Tom Karst, AgWeb 

Jun 23, 2020


President Trump’s latest move to extend the suspension of certain visas through the end of the year won’t affect the H-2A guest agricultural worker program, Richard Owen says.


Owen, vice president of global membership and engagement at the  Produce Marketing Association, spoke with The Packer’s editor Tom Karst June 23 about Trump’s latest immigration order.


The White House said Trump's latest annoucement builds on his April pause on non-immigrant visas.


“President Trump is building on this measure with an additional pause on several job-related non-immigrant visas—H-1Bs, H-2Bs without a nexus to the food-supply chain, certain H-4s, as well as Ls and certain Js—preserving jobs for American citizens,” the White House said in a news release.


Guest agricultural workers were not covered by Trump’s action.


“The good news for agriculture is that the H-2Aa visa, which is the temporary worker visa that most of our seasonal labor comes in under, was also exempted,” Owen said.


The White House said Trump is extending the pause on new immigrant visas through the end of the year. In addition, the release said the Trump Administration will reform  the immigration system to prioritize the highest-skilled workers and protect American jobs.


Under President Trump’s reforms, the release said the H-1B program will prioritize those workers who are offered the highest wage, ensuring that the highest-skilled applicants are admitted.


The H-1B...