Thoughts about immigration reform and H2B Visas

Pedro, our dogs, and us in happier times Last week we were notified that the H2B Visa for Pedro was finally approved. We really liked Pedro and his brother-in-law, Fernando. Over a period of about a year, Pedro showed us that he was both a good man and a good worker. He had the highest wage rate on our farm. His brother-in-law did a good job selling us on Pedro’s ability. He wanted us to pay him in cash but I declined. I wanted to see a social security number since I wanted to put him on our payroll. He fussed a little but he complied. I felt bad about withholding US taxes. I doubt he will ever collect the refund he is due. He was pretty close to the perfect employee for us. He easily did the work of two of our normal employees, high school students. He has a wife and three boys in Mexico. His wife’s sister is living near Milwaukee so his wife was interested in eventually moving to the US. It looked like a win-win situation. In April we applied to sponsor his new Visa. The lawyers led us to believe that the Visa would be approved for re-entry around June 15th despite a change in policy. The previous visa was sponsored by a horseman’s group. We were told that option was not available anymore. The new policy required each farm to apply independently. As long as we could get nine months of work out of him and the legal costs were not too onerous, we had a workable plan.

As you can see the visa came in late. We struggled to find help with the farm while he was gone. It is hard to stop being a farm. My wife and I ended up doing a lot of the work he would of done.My wife skipped some of the training she does with our horses to do barn work. I am starting a business and barn work took time away from that activity, too. The legal fees were much more expensive than we were originally told, too. Now that we have the paperwork in our hands, we can see it is valid through February. His visa is good for barely four months. If we want to continue to use him on our farm, we are already two months late in applying for the next visa. We cannot run the farm this way. We went from helping someone participate in the American dream to wondering how many dreams are being killed by this immigration mania. We are disappointed. As far as we are concerned the border is closed to Pedro and Fernando. He tried to do the right thing. We tried to do the right thing. It didn’t work. We will find another way to get the work done. Hopefully, Pedro will find a job that will feed his family.