WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) spoke with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Thoren Bond regarding the State Department’s recent computer system failure, which has resulted in the State Department’s inability to issue new visas worldwide.
Tillis received a commitment from Secretary Bond that H-2A and H-2B visas will be prioritized when the computer system is fully functional once again, in an effort to provide immediate relief to North Carolina businesses that rely on the visa programs. In the interim, the State Department is manually processing as many H-2A and H-2B visas as possible.
H-2A and H-2B visas are vital to North Carolina’s agriculture and seafood industries, and North Carolina employs more H-2A workers than any state in the nation.
“After working closely with North Carolina businesses to reverse the months-long Department of Homeland Security’s freeze on new visas, I learned that the State Department was unable to process the workers seeking to use those visas because of a computer glitch,” said Senator Tillis. “I am pleased with the responsiveness of the State Department and their commitment to resolve this issue as soon as possible, potentially as soon as today. Having met with hardworking North Carolina small business owners who depend on the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, I know how critical the visas are in sustaining their businesses, keeping North Carolinians employed, and driving our state economy.”