U.S. President Donald Trump is continuing his crackdown on illegal immigration. Demand for temporary workers, many from Mexico, is rising in the United States.
CGTN’s Franc Contreras met up with some of the Mexican workers seeking a special visa to work in the farms and orchards of the United States.
They’re up at the crack of dawn. Hundreds of would-be migrants, hoping to get visas allowing them to enter the United States legally and get jobs as agriculture workers.
They come to processing centers like this one in the city of Monterrey to obtain a visa called the H2A, a temporary work visa for foreign agricultural workers in the United States.
Adan Beltran and his friend are hoping to get the visa and land jobs harvesting apples in the U.S. state of Virginia. Along with the visa application, he was given a booklet describing his labor rights.
Beltran said the process is not easy. “The application process is tedious and tiring. You have to wait here many hours.”
Beltran added back in his home state of Chihuahua, he can earn about $10 a day doing agriculture work. With this visa, he can make $11 dollars an hour.
Demand for these temporary visas in Mexico is increasing, and so too are reports of fraud committed against some of these would-be migrants, according to non-governmental organizations.
In the first nine months of fiscal year 2017, the U.S. government authorized more than 160000 H2A visas, the majority from Mexico. That’s a 20 percent increase over the same period last year. An immigrants’ rights lawyer in Mexico said he’s seen a rise in the number of complaints of mistreatment against these agriculture workers.
“We see an increase in abuses such as no medical attention for these workers and a lack of proper housing once they are in the United States,” Humberto Salinas, Immigrants’ Rights lawyer said.
Outright fraud is also a problem. This Mexican worker says he was forced to pay about $630 for the visa, which was never given to him.
“In total, 512 of us came seeking these U.S. work visas. Only half got them, even though each of us paid about $630 ,” “Alberto”, victim of alleged visa fraud said.
The official cost of the application process is $190. The perpetrators are Mexicans working for U.S. companies. No arrests have been made in this case.