DHS Approves 15000 Added Temporary Worker Visas

17 July, 2017, 21:51 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Speaker Ryan Squeezes More H-2B Workers From DHS Chief John Kelly			AP		by Neil Munro17 Jul 20170		17 Jul 2017		17 Jul 2017

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security approved the release of an additional 15,000 H-2B visas, which allow seasonal, nonfarm workers to come to the United States for jobs that can't be filled by American workers.

DHS Secretary John Kelly filed the required paperwork with the Federal Register to increase the number of H-2B visas for fiscal year 2017 after meeting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who said there weren't enough USA workers to satisfy the needs of businesses across the country. First, though, they will need to attest that they would suffer irreparable harm if they can't hire the foreign workers they are requesting.

Temporary workers at seasonal resorts as well as in landscaping, seafood harvesting and processing are among those eligible, the government said.

Many seasonal businesses and members of Congress have pleaded with Kelly to issue the visas, citing an urgent need for workers. In the statement, the department said Kelly was concerned Congress was "passing the buck" by not designating a specific number of visas and hoped the one-time occurrence was an anomaly.

While he was still serving in the Senate, Attorney General Jeff Sessions a year ago sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking them not to dramatically increase the number of H-2B visas as the House had done in a temporary spending bill.

The department met its cap for the visa applications in March.

The release of a new batch of seasonal worker visas is sending ME hotels and restaurant owners scrambling to submit applications before the supply of new visas is exhausted.

DHS said the government has created a new tip line to report any abuse of the visas or employer violations.

Still, senior DHS officials insisted the policy fits Trumps self-styled "America First" agenda because it will help American businesses.

DHS press secretary David Lapan told reporters, "we're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm", according to The Washington Times.

But not everyone agrees, including Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, which lobbies to keep immigration levels low in the United States.

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