TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+

US to Add 30,000 Seasonal Worker Visas as Soon as This Week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration plans to allow 30,000 more foreign workers temporarily into the United States for seasonal work through the end of September, a move that reflects how the booming economy has complicated President Donald Trump’s efforts to restrict legal immigration.

Details of the plan were in a draft rule obtained by The Associated Press. It would benefit oyster shucking companies, fisheries, loggers and seasonal hotels, including Trump’s own Mar-a-Lago club — all of which use the visas to hire migrants for temporary work they say Americans won’t do.

The visas, known as H-2Bs, will be granted only to returning foreign workers who have had the visa before, over the last three fiscal years. Many of the visa holders return to the same employers year after year. Those workers have already been vetted and are trusted and not likely to stay past their visa, officials said.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin taking applications from employers on behalf of the workers once the temporary rule is published in the Federal Register, expected on Wednesday.

The strong economy has made it increasingly difficult for employers to find labor, and the number of seasonal visas has been capped at 66,000 per fiscal year — a figure some businesses and lawmakers say is badly outdated, especially when the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 49 years.

Employers have argued that they desperately need more labor, pitting businesses against those both inside and outside of the White House who say the visas take away American jobs. Trump has also benefited personally from both seasonal workers and people working in the country illegally at his golf clubs.

Within the White House, there are some, like adviser Stephen Miller, who seek to restrict legal immigration, including reducing visas for high-skilled workers and suspending or limiting entry to the U.S. for individuals from countries with high rates of short-term visa overstays.

Meanwhile, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been working on his own immigration overhaul package for months, meeting with lawmakers and interest groups, trying to put together legal immigration and border security changes that Republicans can rally around heading into the 2020 presidential election.

Trump had once railed against legal immigration, arguing — despite conflicting evidence — that foreigners hurt American workers by competing for jobs and driving down wages. But Trump has recently changed his tune, saying he’s now in favor of more legal immigration because of economic gains on his watch.

Trump announced the change during his State of the Union speech, when he said he wanted people “to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.”

The debate has played out in Congress, too, with two bipartisan groups sending letters to Homeland Security, one urging an increase in the number of temporary visas and one expressing concern over a possible increase.

Homeland Security and Labor Department officials said the decision to allocate the visas was based in part on the fact some businesses could face irreparable harm if they can’t employ the workers. The two departments have jointly decided to raise the cap during the past two fiscal years, but it was only 15,000 more in those years.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Monday the additional visas were a temporary fix.

“The Department of Homeland Security continues to urge lawmakers to pursue a long-term legislative fix that both meets employers’ temporary needs while fulfilling the president’s Buy American and Hire American executive order to spur higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers,” McAleenan said.

According to the most recent data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on visa approvals, half of the visas went to horticultural and agricultural workers. Food service, forestry and logging work and fisheries, hunter trappers made up the bulk of the rest of the 2017 visas.

Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a Republican, and independent Angus King of Maine, along with Reps. Andy Harris, R-Md., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and about 25 other bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate, sent a letter to Homeland Security this year saying they were working on a solution for the visa cap, but until then the increase was badly needed.

But a separate group of bipartisan senators, including Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, wrote last month they were concerned the visas enabled worker exploitation and fostered human trafficking and debt bondage because of the fees associated with the visas.

“Americans working alongside H-2B visa holders can find it difficult to compel employers to abide by federal and state labor and employment laws,” the senators wrote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VIDEO NEWS

National Politics

Congressman Soto: New Democrat Coalition Releases Technology Task Force Goals for the 116th Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the New Democrat Coalition Technology Task Force Co-Chairs Darren Soto, Sharice…

Step by step: Democrats play the long game against Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — First came the sternly worded letters. Then the subpoenas. Now the votes…

Once again, Iraq caught up in tensions between US and Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials…

Trump Delays Imposing Tariffs on Auto Imports and Parts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Caught in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Leadership and Delegation for Historic Business Development Mission to Israel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Rcently, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the leadership and delegation for the Governor’s…

Gov. DeSantis: ‘Dumping’ migrants in Florida is unacceptable

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s governor plans to fight any federal plans to fly hundreds…

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs CS/HB 107: Wireless Communications While Driving

Sarasota, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 107: Wireless Communications While Driving. The law…

U.S. Reps Darren Soto and Brian Mast To Hold Press Conference on Congressional Services Act in Kissimmee May 20

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – On Monday, May 20th at 9:30 am, U.S. Reps. Darren Soto and…

FNN SPORTS

  • Orlando City's Chris Mueller (in white) battle for the ball against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo courtesy of The Bleacher Report.
    ORLANDO (FNN SPORTS) - MATCH RECAP: Orlando City Falls 1-0 in Atlanta (Photo courtesy of The Bleacher Report)

MORE SPORTS NEWS

The Latest: Tiger on wrong side of cut at PGA Championship

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The Latest on the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black on Friday…

Only four players in 100 years have won six NFL titles

Tom Brady will soon slip on his sixth Super Bowl ring, and Herb Adderley is…

Jaguars Make Roster Moves Following Day Two of Rookie Minicamp

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: Jacksonville Jaguars // Following the the team’s annual rookie minicamp,…

MATCH RECAP: Orlando City Falls 1-0 in Atlanta

ATLANTA (FNN SPORTS) - Source: Orlando City SC // Orlando City (3-5-3, 12 points) fell 1-0…

Portland Thorns FC Rout Orlando Pride 3-1 at Home

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) - The Orlando Pride have an uphill battle this season. With…

Bucks beat Celtics 116-91 to advance to East final

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks found another gear after their first…

BUSINESS NEWS

  • FILE In this May 31, 2018, file photo a customer enters the Apple store in New York. Apple on Monday, March 18, 2019, unveiled a new iPad that's thinner and slightly larger than its current entry-level tablet. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    NEW YORK (AP) - Apple refreshes iPad lineup, with larger entry-level model. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

Trump Delays Imposing Tariffs on Auto Imports and Parts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Caught in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald…

US to Add 30,000 Seasonal Worker Visas as Soon as This Week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration plans to allow 30,000 more foreign workers temporarily into…

Shark Tank Star Daymond John, DWTS's Lindsay Arnold, Joey Fatone to Host Runway to Hope 2019 Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Runway to Hope co-founder Attorney Mark NeJame announced on Facebook Wednesday…

Bank of America Raising Hourly Minimum Wage to $20

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America plans to raise its starting pay to $20…

Pinterest sets sites on $1.5B in first public share offering

NEW YORK (AP) — Pinterest, among a gaggle of tech companies planning to go public…

Gone in 6 minutes: an Ethiopian Airlines jet’s final journey

From nearly the moment they roared down the runway and took off in their new…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

  • NEW YORK (FNN NEWS) - 2019 Tony Award® Nominations Announced

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

[PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood’ Stars Electrify the Red Carpet

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood premiered…

[PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: Model Winnie Harlow Wows on the Red Carpet

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Game-changing model Winnie Harlow, who rocked the world several years ago…

Review: Egerton glitters in glossy, conventional ‘Rocketman’

Whatever you say about Dexter Fletcher’s glossy, glittering Elton John blinged-out biopic ”Rocketman ,” a shiny…

[PHOTOS] Bella Hadid Stuns for “Dolor Y Gloria” Premiere at Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Supermodel and Bvlgari ambassador Bella Hadid is no stranger to…

Pop Icon Dionne Warwick Releases New Album “She's Back”

NEW YORK, N.Y. (FNN NEWS) - Legendary Grammy Award-winner Dionne Warwick releases her new album, She’s Back (Kind Music/Entertainment…

Grumpy Cat, Who Entertained Millions Online, Dies at Age 7

MORRISTOWN, Ariz. (AP) — Grumpy Cat, whose sourpuss expression entertained millions on the internet and…

LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL & TOURISM

  • This cruise line rivals Broadway with 134 shows, 50 theaters
    MIAMI, Fla. (AP) - This cruise line rivals Broadway with 134 shows, 50 theaters

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

[PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood’ Stars Electrify the Red Carpet

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood premiered…

[PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: Model Winnie Harlow Wows on the Red Carpet

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Game-changing model Winnie Harlow, who rocked the world several years ago…

[PHOTOS] The Most Stunning Celebrity Looks from 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Opening Night

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) – Stunning celebrity fashion filled the red carpet on Opening Night…

Governor Ron DeSantis, Gary Sinise and Westgate Resorts Honor Thousands of Military Families

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Westgate Resorts, Gary Sinise and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hosted thousands of military families in Kissimmee…

Expedia Unpacks the Best Time to Book, Cheap Places to Visit, and Everything Else You Need to Know About Summer 2019

BELLEVUE, Wash. (FNN NEWS) - Searches for "summer 2019" have been on the rise for the…

3 black women win Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America

NEW YORK (AP) — When Cheslie Kryst won the Miss USA crown, it marked more…