A recent CIS review of State Department visa issuance data shows that while interviews in Mexico for a wide variety of visas have almost been wiped out by the virus crisis, that is distinctly not the case for H-2A seasonal workers that Big Agriculture wants. Unskilled workers in non-ag fields, in the H-2B class, seem to be treated in the same generous way.
The level of issuances in this April was about 90 percent of the H-2A and H-2B volumes of April 2019. Meanwhile, the less favored J-1 category received 0.13 percent of last year's April issuances.
Big Education and even the high-tech companies simply do not have the clout that Big Ag has. The H-2 visas were being issued as tens of millions of U.S. workers became unemployed.
Nonimmigrant Visas Issued in Selected
|Visa Category||Visa||April 2019||April 2020|
|Non-Farm Unskilled Workers||H-2B||10,549||9,252|
|College Grad Workers||H-1B||167||2|
Source: U.S. Department of State, Monthly Nonimmigrant Visa Statistics.
Most of the H-2A visas in Mexico are issued at our consulate in Monterrey, which is about 125 miles south of the Texas border. Mexico is home to a large percentage of H-2 workers.
The writer is grateful to CIS intern Jackson Koonce for his research assistance.