H-2B Action May Be Imminent. Will It Be Enough?
We expect the 33,000 semi-annual H-2B visa cap to be hit later this month. We are hopeful that the Department of Homeland Security will soon make additional visas available under the authority it was granted by the Fiscal 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act. AmericanHort and our partners in the H-2B Workforce Coalition have been calling on DHS to promptly make available the approximately 65,000 additional visas that the law allows. Thirty-eight Senators and 153 Representatives in the House made the same plea in a January 27 letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
While we continue to encourage DHS to release additional visas, we are also focusing on the Fiscal 2020 appropriations process. President Trump plans to send his budget request to Congress on February 10, which will kick off the fiscal 2021 process. We are encouraging lawmakers to include meaningful cap relief in a Fiscal 2021 DHS spending bill. We do not expect a final spending bill to be completed until the fall or later. Fiscal 2021 begins October 1.
Finally, AmericanHort and our coalition partners are working with the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and our Congressional champions to draft H-2B reform legislation that will address the cap problem once and for all. We will keep you updated on our advocacy efforts.