Just as the summer harvest season kicksÂ into gear, a computer error at the U.S. State Department has left thousands of temporary agricultural workers stranded, costing farmers up to $1 million a day in California alone.
Since June 9, problems in the system that transmits fingerprints and other biometric security data from consulates have brought H-2A agricultural visa applications to a standstill. More than 1000 farmÂ workers are waiting for approval, according to the Wall Street Journal. Farmers from California, Washington state and across the Midwest have reported crops are rotting in fields due to the labor shortfall.
Farm groups reported that hundreds of workers are waiting in Tijuana across the border from Mexico and Monterrey near Texas. Lost days of work can be devastatingÂ for seasonal farmhands, who often give up work in rural areas andÂ travel long distances by bus to reach the border.
The U.S. issued 9.9 million visas to tourists and temporary workers last year.
- H-2A Visa Delays Reach Second Week (The Packer)
- Computer GlitchÂ Leaves Hundreds Without Jobs And Farms Without Workers (Guardian)