H-2B Advocacy Efforts Continue
On February 15, President Trump signed into law a funding bill that gives DHS the authority, in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), to approve up to an additional 69,320 H-2B seasonal worker visas (69,320 being the number of H-2B “returning worker” visas or H-2Rs issued in FY 2007). This is the same language that was in effect for fiscal 2017 and 2018.
AmericanHort and the H-2B Workforce Coalition continue to advocate for DHS to release the full additional 69,320 visas authorized by the FY 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act to save the spring season for our members who have been shut out of the program due to the cap. A bipartisan group of 27 Senators and 110 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Harris (R-MD) and Pingree (D-ME) and Senators Rounds (R-SD) and Tillis (R-NC), recently sent a letter to Secretary Homeland Security Nielsen urging immediate action on the H-2B visas.
The letter states, “Given the near historic low unemployment rate, the constant oversubscription to the program and its importance to our local economies, we strongly urge you to use the discretion afforded your office in the most recent appropriations bill to release, without delay and to the greatest extent allowed by law, additional H-2B visas sufficient to meet the certified demand of our seasonal employers.” The letter continues, “If significant H-2B cap relief is not provided, there will be severe consequences for seasonal businesses and our economy generally.”
A second bipartisan letter authored by Senators Collins (R-ME) and King was signed by 11 Senators.
AmericanHort will continue to urge Secretary Nielsen to immediately release the visas. We also continue to pursue other legislative cap fixes.