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Wafla and Stanford University scholars research outcomes for H-2A workers

Wafla and Stanford University scholars research outcomes for H-2A workers

Press Release

Study will look at income changes for workers and their families at home

Lacey, Wash., Oct. 19, 2022 -- Wafla is pleased to announce an innovative research project that will look at the economic and social outcomes of farmworkers who migrate from Mexico.

In a new collaboration with researchers at Stanford University, wafla will pilot a project this growing season to look at the economic and social outcomes for farmworkers from Mexico. Stanford researchers will speak with and compare the experiences of farmworkers who remain in Mexico and those who participate in the H-2A program through wafla. These workers will be interviewed before recruitment, during the season in the United States, and then again once they have returned home to Mexico.

“The scientific evaluation of the H-2A program we are working on with wafla will generate some of the first evidence about the impact of seasonal migration on Mexican workers and their families,” said Melanie Morten, associate professor of economics at Stanford University. “During the pilot project, we will be testing ways to collect data about the economic impacts of seasonal migration for the workers while they are in the United States, as well as how to collect data from their families in Mexico. This research has the potential to provide empirical data to help inform policymakers and employers.”

The pilot phase of the study will conclude this month and will be followed by an evaluation funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) during the following two years, starting in the fall.

“The NSF-funded evaluation will focus on the poverty alleviation potential of the H-2A program,” said Beatriz Magaloni, Graham Stuart Professor on International Relations at the department of political science at Stanford University. “We will also study working conditions and how the H-2A program impacts workers’ mental and physical health as well as intra-family dynamics. Our study will also shed light on an important question regarding U.S. immigration policy, namely the extent to which the H-2A program might discourage unauthorized migration.”

The H-2A program has the potential to provide family farms with a stable, consistent labor force. For workers in Mexico, this program could lift families out of poverty, allowing them to earn up to 13 times more in the United States doing the same work they were doing in Mexico.

“This is part of a broader effort at wafla to continue to treat workers with dignity and respect from recruitment to their experience on host farms in the United States to when they return to their home country,” said Enrique Gastelum, CEO of wafla. “Wafla works hard to ensure farmworkers are treated with the respect they deserve and have the dignity of legal presence.”


Wafla is a non-profit association that serves more than 800 seasonal and agricultural employers in the Pacific Northwest by providing outstanding labor and employment services. We make labor stability a reality for all agricultural employers.

Media Contact
Scott Dilley
Public Affairs Director
975 Carpenter Rd NE, Ste 201, Lacey, WA 98516
Office: 360-455-8064 x116
Cell: 360-581-8153

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