Federal officials will grant 15000 new visas for seasonal workers
Jul 18 2017
"As a demonstration of the administration's commitment to supporting American businesses, DHS is providing this one-time increase to the congressionally set annual cap", Kelly said in a statement. The cap has already been reached this year.
The Trump administration has expanded the meaning of "America First" to include foreign workers willing to take on low-skill work.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly had expressed reluctance to be the decider on the issue and has mentioned plans to find a long-term solution, but after he consulted with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, he determined there were not enough qualified and willing USA workers available to perform the temporary nonagricultural labor needed by some American businesses.
"The fact that more than 700,000 visits were overstayed past year shows just how much we need to step up interior enforcement to create more of a deterrent, not only by identifying and deporting overstays, but by weakening the job magnet by cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers", she said.
Under authority from Congress, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly extended the cap on H2B visas, which cover non-agricultural guest workers in seasonal industries like landscaping, fishing and resorts.
"We're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don't get additional H-2B workers", the official said.
But Daniel Costa, who directs immigration research at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said that the H2B program lacks enough enforcement to make sure American workers can benefit. "From landscapers in Colorado to innkeepers in ME to seafood processors along the gulf coast to carnivals nationwide, we hope the visa expansion will help some businesses avoid substantial financial loss, and in some cases, prevent early business closures during their peak season. There is no job that Americans will not do", said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Oklahoma) in a speech on the Senate floor. "That doesn't mean there aren't some shortages in some places, but there need to be rules in place to ensure that a fair wage is being offered to American workers first".