Amidst Trump’s migrant crackdown, demand for laborers is up
By CGTN’s Franc Contreras
As US President Donald Trump continues his crackdown on illegal immigration, demand for temporary agricultural workers, mostly from Mexico, is up.
In the first nine months of 2017, the US government authorized more than 160,000 H2A visas, the majority for those from Mexico – a 20 percent increase over the same period last year.
For many hopeful workers, the potential of more money is worth the intense process they must go through. Applicant Adan Beltran noted that in his home state of Chihuahua, he can earn about 10 US dollars a day doing agricultural work. With the visa, he can make 11 dollars an hour in the US.
While there are benefits, an immigrants’ rights lawyer in Mexico said he’s seen a rise in the number of complaints of mistreatment against these agricultural 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,” said Humberto Salinas, an immigrants’ rights lawyer.
Outright fraud is also a problem. A Mexican worker told CGTN that he was forced to pay about 630 dollars for the visa, which was never given to him.
“In total, 512 of us came seeking these US work visas. Only half got them, even though each of us paid about 630 dollars,” Alberto, a victim of alleged visa fraud, said.
The official cost of the application process is 190 dollars. The perpetrators are Mexicans working for US companies. No arrests have been made in this case.