Farm labor visa programs address poverty and undocumented migration

By Dr. Beau Brodbeck is assistant director for field operations, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University. Dr. Fernando Landini is a researcher at Universidad de la Cuenca del Plata

Alfredo lives in a rural Guatemalan village and travels to the U.S. with an H-2A visa each May to work in a nursery, returning each December, in time for Christmas, to spend a few months with family. Over the years, the money he earns has allowed his home to evolve from a mud-slat structure with dirt floors to a modern cement block home with tiled floors, glass windows and running water. In seven seasons he has saved to purchase an acre of land, install a small greenhouse and buy his first vehicle to haul vegetables to the local market. Prior to the visa, he grew corn on a half-acre of rented land to feed his family and worked seasonally on neighboring coffee farms, earning just enough to clothe his family.… Continue reading