Request Line: (870) 277-1080 [email protected]
Text Your Gift to KLEK1 to 44-321 LEARN MORE

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

Arkansas Delegation Joins Effort to Protect America’s Domestic Food Supply During Pandemic

Written by Press Release

March 19, 2020

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westermanpressed the Trump administration to maintain access to vetted, temporary workers to help ensure America’s agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to continue producing our domestic food supply as our nation combats the novel coronavirus.

In a bipartisan, bicameral letter signed by more than 100 members of the House and Senate, members called on the administration to remove a number of specific hurdles in order to ensure the timely processing of H-2A visa requests, which is our nation’s temporary agriculture worker program.  

“We understand the importance of maintaining public health safety during this time and appreciate the Administration’s actions to minimize the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are substantial national security concerns that will arise should our farmers not have the labor they need,” the members wrote.

“Food security is national security,” the members continued. “We believe suspending visa services that our farmers rely on will be detrimental to families across our nation trying to put food on the table. We also believe that protocols should be in place as H-2A applications are processed to help protect public health in the United States should COVID-19 cases increase in Mexico or other participating countries.” 

Read the letter below and click here for a copy of the letter including the full list of Senators and Representatives who joined the letter led by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC).

Dear Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Wolf, and Secretary Scalia,

We write to you today regarding the recent announcement from the U.S. Consulate in Mexico and other consulates that it will suspend routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services effective March 18, 2020. We greatly appreciate the subsequent announcement that H-2A visa applications of returning H-2A workers will still be processed and your respective agency’s continued efforts to address and accommodate this evolving issue. Nonetheless, we remain concerned that our farmers will not have the labor they need to keep food on the shelves at grocery stores across the nation.

We understand the importance of maintaining public health safety during this time and appreciate the Administration’s actions to minimize the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  However, there are substantial national security concerns that will arise should our farmers not have the labor they need.            

Food security is national security. We believe suspending visa services that our farmers rely on will be detrimental to families across our nation trying to put food on the table. We also believe that protocols should be in place as H-2A applications are processed to help protect public health in the United States should COVID-19 cases increase in Mexico or other participating countries. With this in mind and during these truly challenging times, we respectfully ask you to: 

  • Use all existing available authorities to provide maximum flexibility to consulate staff in the processing of H-2A visa applicants, while implementing protocols to protect public health.
  • Identify any current legal or logistical hurdles that may prevent your agencies from implementing additional flexibilities, such as developing a separate screening process or remote interviews, in processing H-2A visa applicants.
  • Provide an estimation of any costs associated with implementing any of the aforementioned actions.
  • Provide data on the number of H-2A petition beneficiaries nationwide and by state that are eligible for an interview waiver and will not be affected by these processing changes. 

Thank you again for your leadership as our nation continues to combat COVID-19. We look forward to working with you on ensuring food security for America.

Sincerely, 

Original article source: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/3/arkansas-delegation-joins-effort-to-protect-america-s-domestic-food-supply-during-pandemic | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

0 0 vote
Article Rating

Related Articles

Boozman Applauds Modification of Rice Tariff Lines

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced a modification to rice tariff lines in the Generalized System Read more

Boozman Recognizes Military Service of Harrison WWII Veteran

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service of World War II veteran Perry Harness in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans. Harness was born in Bear Creek, Arkansas on Read more

Senators Boozman & Cotton Honor Fallen Pine Bluff Detective

WASHINGTON–Arkansas Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton on Sunday paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of Pine Bluff Police Department Detective Kevin Collins who was killed in the line of duty on Read more

Additional Small Business Relief Critical to Economic Recovery

In March, Stepping Stone School, a Crawford County non-profit providing services for young children and their families, suspended its in-person lessons in order to comply with health guidelines. However, the school’s Read more

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Community Radio Station is possible thanks to this supporter!  Become an underwriter.

Pin It on Pinterest