WASHINGTON, June 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it is planning to approve additional H-2B guest worker visas this summer is an "an absolute betrayal of the very workers President Trump has consistently pledged to protect," states Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in a June 21 letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly.
Under pressure from business lobbyists, Congress included a gaping loophole in last month's omnibus spending bill that could potentially double the number of low-skilled guest workers authorized to fill U.S. jobs. The business-backed provision exempts returning H-2B workers from the annual cap of 66,000 visas.
"While Congress authorized vast increases in H-2B visas, it is up to the president and Secretary Kelly to decide whether they should be issued," said Stein. "They most emphatically should not. There is a glut of available workers to fill these jobs in the United States, which is reflected in high unemployment and long-term declines in wages in these sectors of the labor market."
Recent data from the American Community Survey shows that more than 50 percent of Americans of working age (18-65) without a high school degree are not in the labor force. Employment prospects for those with no more than a high school degree are only slightly better.
The administration's decision to exceed the 66,000 cap not only undermines struggling American workers, but betrays unequivocal promises President Trump made in his campaign. In President Trump's own words, "the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle class wage."
"That statement is just as true now as it was when Donald Trump was on the campaign trail promising to be the champion of American workers who have been hit hard by mass immigration, unfavorable trade deals and globalization," Stein said. "There is nothing that compels President Trump to capitulate to the self-serving demands of business lobbyists. Our economy does not need a vast infusion of guest workers and the American workers who turned out in large numbers to disrupt the status quo certainly won't benefit from it either," Stein concluded.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With more than 1.3 million members and supporters nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.
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