The State Department announced yesterday that the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will suspend routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services starting March 18, 2020, until further notice. Applicants with appointments will receive cancellation notices by e-mail. The State Department will continue to accept nonimmigrant visa applications on a very limited basis for emergency travel only.
Travel Restrictions Within California
Within the last few days, six Northern California counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara) have enacted “shelter-in-place” orders to combat COVID-19 Coronavirus, effectively shutting down our communities.
Under the order, food cultivation, like farming, livestock and fishing are considered essential businesses and will not be subject to the shelter-in-place restrictions.
Travel Restrictions From Mexico
The State Department’s closure of our embassy and consulates in Mexico creates an effective border shutdown for desperately needed workers at the beginning of the spring season. The National Council of Agricultural Employers has been working tirelessly with federal agencies and lawmakers to ensure that an Ag exemption is recognized under any emergency orders and/or travel restrictions. Under the Executive COVID-19 guidelines released yesterday, President Trump referenced food production as a critical function:
“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as…food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.”
We will continue to update you as we have further information and counsel for H-2A employers. As always, our office, The Saqui Law Group, a Division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated, continues to remain open and available for your individual questions.