Visas

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

More than 240,000 guestworkers, many from Mexico, work on U.S. farms for several months each year as a part of the federal H-2A visa program. This year, farmers and industry associations worry the ongoing government shutdown could impede the workers’ arrival.

But the visa program, which is overseen by no fewer than three U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security, is unimpeded. That’s according to officials from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification and United States Citizen and Immigration Services. Both of those agencies are fully funded.

On a western Kansas tour this week, U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall touted progress on a new proposal that would let more immigrants come into the country on guest visas to work on farms, in meat-packing plants and other agricultural jobs.

A bill introduced in the U.S. House in July would provide a temporary guest worker visa — known as the H-2C — for year-round agricultural work. Its co-sponsors include Marshall and fellow Kansas Republicans, Lynn Jenkins and Ron Estes.