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Arizona Farmers Group Discusses How To Reform Foreign Labor Visas

(Photo By Andrew Bernier - KJZZ)
Workers in the field planting seedlings off of a machine.

A group of farm labor and immigration reform leaders Wednesday discussed via phone how to change the legal system, called H-2 A, that brings in farm workers.

The H-2 A program is used to bring non-immigrant, foreign workers to the United States seasonally.

Western Growers president Tom Nassif participated, and represents produce farmers in Arizona, California and Colorado.

In Arizona, Nassif said the H-2 A approval process, which involves four different government agencies, takes too long, and has left a shortage of workers to harvest crops.

“We need to get rid of the H-2A system and put together a future flow program for farm workers that’s less complicated and more expeditious,” he said, echoing the topics discussed on the call.

Nassif said because the program takes months, Arizona crops could be left unpicked in harvest season.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.