Hundreds of Mexican farm workers have been stranded for two weeks at the U.S. border after a government computer failure left them unable to get visas, states Reuters. The visas were sought for them by Washington state cherry growers, officials said on Monday.
Meanwhile, cherry crops have been spoiling in the trees because the orchards lack enough workers to pick them, said officials, according to Reuters.
A State Department database crashed on June 9. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has managed to process fewer than half the applications it has received seeking H-2A visas for temporary farm employment.
The visas have been granted to about 1,250 workers who had previously obtained them, but 1,500 first-time applicants cannot yet get the documents because of the computer failure, according to State Department spokeswoman Julia Straker.
Among those waiting are more than 550 would-be workers sponsored by the Washington Farm Labor Association.
Most of the workers are stranded in Tiajuana, according to Reuters.