As a result of the current federal government shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification at the U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) is shuttered and the processing of H-2A applications has come to a halt.

If a budget deal is not reached soon, the Yuma and Imperial winter vegetable harvest in Southern California and Southwestern Arizona, which relies on thousands of H-2A workers, as well as other areas of the country that rely on H-2A workers during the winter, will suffer significant adverse impacts, according to Western Growers.

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The association is in direct communications with ranking officials at DOL and USDA, plus relevant legislative offices.

“We are seeking an immediate exemption from furloughs for H-2A adjudicators and certifying officers,” Western Growers said.

“In the alternative, Western Growers is requesting that the various agencies involved in the H-2A process implement our recommended contingency plans for expediting H-2A applications immediately upon the resumption of the government.”

Members of Western Growers provide half of the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts, including a third of America’s fresh organic produce.

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