FOX 9's Adam Klepp spoke to local experts who say the benefits far outweigh the challenges
YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - The Americans for Prosperity Foundation's Yuma tour prioritized learning from locals.
As Wednesday’s program group included a panel to hear about Yuma’s main economic engine, the ag industry.
Local growers rely on migrant workers to harvest their crops, but Phil Townsend said employers often find government regulations difficult to navigate.
“If they’re designated to do the cauliflower harvest, you cannot use them to do the lettuce harvest," Townsend said.
Townsend also added that under the H-2A program, employers are required to provide housing for every field worker, even if they want to commute from Mexico every day.
While he hopes Congress can resolve these issues, he added that the benefits of H-2A far outweigh the challenges.
“We’ve got a great legal workforce coming across the border who are doing a great service to our community and our nation," Townsend said.
While H-2A workers are in the fields, their children attend Yuma schools.
Bringing another challenge, as the growing season does not align with the school calendar.
“You have 1,500 to 2,000 students coming into the system in October, and leaving in March or April.” Yuma Union High School District Superintendent Gina Thompson said.
Thompson said that despite the challenge, every student in the district gets a strong education and that adding diversity to the schools only makes them stronger.
“Yuma is just a really special place, and I think our public school system just really highlights all of the different talents our students have,” Thompson said.