The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives is sounding the alarm about restrictions on the movement of H-2A workers within Mexico in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group on May 5 urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to intervene with the State Department to urge the agency to work with the Mexican government to ensure that H-2A agricultural guest workers can reach U.S. consulates in that country, according to a news release.
“Recent guidance and quarantine orders within individual Mexican states has restricted the ability of H-2A workers to reach U.S. consulates,” NCFC president and CEO Chuck Conner said in the letter to Perdue. “We must continue to protect their safety while traveling to the job site and we must find a way to do so in a timely and efficient manner that does not arbitrarily delay the arrival of this critical workforce.”
The release said there have been increasing reports that differing quarantine laws and definitions of “essential workers” are causing difficulties for workers moving between various Mexican states.
According to the release, that causes problems for H-2A workers who need to travel from their home states to an adjacent one where the U.S. consulate is located.
“We ask you to encourage the State Department to reiterate with the Mexican government the importance of finding a resolution to this H-2A situation and the impact this workforce has on our food supply,” the letter said.