According to the U.S. Department of Labor's National Agricultural Workers Survey, which canvasses hired farm workers, over the period of 2007 to 2009, 48% of farm workers in the country admitted they were in the United States illegally.
The agricultural industry has repeatedly asked the federal government to streamline and expedite the H-2A visa program as its labor needs have grown over the years.
Lee Wicker, deputy director of the North Carolina Growers Association -- an organization with 600 grower members and the largest H-2A program user in the country -- said the current program is ineffective. Wicker called it "costly, time-consuming, and flawed. Farmers have to complete a lengthy labor certification process that's slow, bureaucratic, and frustrating."