Trump administration announces additional H2B visas

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"The Administration's decision to increase the number of H-2B visas will only exacerbate this problem". "The increase represents a 45 percent bump from the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, said senior Homeland Security officials in a call with reporters" notes the Washington Post.

The H-2B program allows workers from places like Mexico and Guatemala to come to the USA, work for a few months at a government-set prevailing wage, and then return to their home countries, only to repeat the process the following year.

The move is meant to avert "irreparable harm" to businesses facing manpower shortages, according to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.

After consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly determined there are not enough qualified and willing USA workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017. Pressed by a reporter about how the policy announcement to allow more foreign workers into the US supports American jobs, a DHS spokesperson said that without those extra workers, USA businesses could suffer "irreparable harm".

He said the additional visas were a "one-time extension" of the visa cap set by Congress.

Migrant workers on H-2B visas Adan Pozos Lopez, left, and Rafael Ramirez Cortes, right, work on the assembly line Harris's Seafood Co's oyster shucking plant in Grasonville, MD in 2015. USCIS will stop accepting petitions after September 15 or after the cap is reached, whichever occurs first. However, even if the entire allotment authorized for the year were released, Department of Labor Statistics numbers indicate that it would only fill half the positions requested by American employers. The government generally offers 66,000 such visas a year.

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

"This is an H-2B expansion that covers a wide variety of industries", Hamelback said.

"Sec. Kelly's decision to increase H-2B foreign workers threatens to reverse the trend of reports emerging around the country of employers working harder and raising pay to successfully recruit more unemployed Americans for lower-skilled jobs".

While President Trump has expressed his opposition to guest worker programs, he has made an exception for the H2B visa - one his Mar-a-Lago resort regularly applies for in order to supplement its staff.

In a joint statement, Iowa Republican Sen. During the presidential campaign, Trump explained his use of H-2B visas by saying that "getting help in Palm Beach during the season is nearly impossible".

"This move by leadership and appropriators cedes portions of this authority to the executive branch without a public debate", Grassley and Feinstein said. In 2016, there were an extra 13,382 visas granted for seasonal work.