As efforts to change U.S. immigration laws stall, North Carolina farmers are proving adept at legally bringing in thousands of temporary workers into the country.
The North Carolina Growers Association is among the largest single users of a temporary agricultural guest worker program called H-2A.
Under the system, North Carolina farmers have brought nearly 8,000 workers into the state annually. The farmers in the cooperative pay $1,000 to get each worker. In return, the association handles the extensive paperwork, logistics and training required for the workers.
The model in North Carolina has been considered by growers in other states, including Georgia.
The North Carolina association's Deputy Director Lee Wicker said the H-2A system is cumbersome and expensive. But it's more efficient when farmers jointly employ workers and share costs.
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