Arizona Farm Bureau recently received the following question: Doesn't the current labor work reflect the absence of a specific commuter (workers regularly transiting back and forth across the border) reference in American Farm Bureau’s (AFB) visa proposal and that of the subsequent Agricultural Workforce Coalition, a group to which AFB belongs?
They are called various things but there are essentially two visa programs proposed (not a reform of H-2A):
- A program that adjusts the status of those working here without proper documentation.
- Two temporary visas …one an “at will” or market visa and then a “contract” visa for those outside the normal flows of labor or for those with very specific needs (i.e. two weeks of blue berry picking in Michigan). Time periods for the visas are being negotiated.
Of the above categories, adjusted workers and “at will” workers would have complete freedom of movement between ag employers and certainly back and forth across the border; a “commuter” provision if you will. Separate commuter visas would be redundant.
It is still a matter of specific and on-going negotiations what the rights and permitted actions of “contract” employees will be.