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A Visa Computer Glitch Stops Workers at the Border as Summer Harvest Begins

A Visa Computer Glitch Stops Workers at the Border as Summer Harvest Begins

USA - Miriam Jordan of the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that workers are stalled at the Mexican/American border because of a State Department  computer glitch, just as the summer harvest is kicking into gear.

To read Miriam Jordan’s complete article, click here.

According to the report, the hardware failure prevented the U.S. from permitting thousands of temporary immigrant visas going back to June 9th. As a result, many workers expecting H-2A agricultural visas, which allows American employers to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to fill temporary agricultural jobs, have been stopped in their tracks.

“It’s a crisis,” Jason Resnick, General Counsel for the Western Growers Association and representatives of California, Arizona, and Colorado farmers, said in the report. He added that workers are now overdue to start harvesting berries and other crops on U.S. farms.

Niles Cole, a State Department Spokesman, explained to Jordan that the system that helps perform necessary security checks has suffered hardware failure. “Until it is repaired, no visas can be issued,” he said.

While growers in several states, including Georgia, Michigan, and North and South Carolina, are reportedly bracing for ramifications from the visa glitch, it is too soon to say if it will cause a rise in prices, according to the Wall Street Journal article.

Cole did say that there is no evidence of a cyber attack, but he couldn’t say exactly what’s caused the failure. It has, however, been found that a central database isn't receiving biometric information (such as fingerprints and other identifiers used for security screenings) from U.S. consulates worldwide.

“We cannot bypass this legal requirement,” Cole told Jordan, saying this is a step that must be completed before processing and issuing a visa.

Technicians are currently working 24/7 to find and repair the exact issue, but as of yet, Cole could not determine when the system would be up and running.

AndNowUKnow will continue to follow this story as it develops.