Early this summer an agricultural crisis was sparked by a computer glitch. The yearly migration of guest workers from Latin America and Mexico came to an abrupt halt when digital verification systems suddenly became incapable of sending out millions of temporary US visas, resulting in the season’s harvest commencing with crops going untended and over $1m per day disappearing.
Immigration reform has dominated the 2016 presidential campaign so far. During a candidate debate on Wednesday night, Republican Ben Carson brought the crucial nature of temporary guest worker US visas out into the open by saying Mexicans should be allowed to work on American farms. Twitter responded with much criticism, with his comments seen by many as a slight on undocumented immigrants; however, his remarks threw the spotlight onto a visa system that is overloaded, overcomplicated, and finding it difficult to fill massive shortcomings of labor for the nation’s agricultural industry.
Although Carson is a believer in closing the borders to prevent the arrival of more undocumented immigrants into the United States, he declared: “… people who had a pristine record, we should consider allowing them to become guest workers, primarily in the agricultural sphere.”
The Western Growers Association’s general counsel and vice-president, Jason Resnick, says a migrant US visa program that actually worked would probably help to prevent undocumented immigrants staying after the expiry of their papers due to the current difficulties involved in crossing back and forth over the US border.