Congressman Newhouse expressed concerns about recent changes to the H-2A program during a House Appropriations hearing with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Newhouse says changes will increase the cost of the H-2A program for farmers to make use of it, explaining, "Not only did the general filing fee increase, but a $600 asylum program fee was added, requiring ag employers to pay for a program that they really don't receive any benefit from."

Washington State's ag industry is a big user of the H-2A program. According to Newhouse, those changes to the program not only increased the cost, but also increased the amount of paperwork. The congressman asked Mayorkas what he thinks about the changes.

Newhouse: Do you expect producers to absorb this cost or are they to pass them on to consumers? If producers are expected to absorb these costs, how do you expect them to stay in business?

Mayorkas: I will allow experts to speak to the downstream economic implications of the fee rule that we were compelled to issue. I am very sensitive to the fact that additional costs were imposed on applicants and I understand the burden that that poses.

Mayorkas goes on to say an increase in fees is needed to help the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which grants H-2A classification to stay financially afloat.

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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

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