A group of 17 Senate Republicans joined Tuesday with 17 Senate Democrats in calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) to increase the number of H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker visas available, saying America needs more workers.
The bipartisan group sent the letter to the Biden administration, calling on the DHS and DOL to make 44,716 visas immediately obtainable, Fox Business reported. The letter was spearheaded by Republican South Dakota Sen. Michael Rounds and Independent Maine Sen. Angus King.
In April, DHS announced that it would make 22,000 more H-2B visas available in order to deal with an increase in labor demands caused by COVID-19. The lawmakers are now calling for more, saying businesses will be forced to scale back operations without the help of foreign workers. This is despite the fact there are 6.5 million unemployed U.S. citizens.
Here Are The 17 Republicans Who Signed The Letter:
- Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso
- Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt
- Maine Sen. Susan Collins
- Texas Sen. John Cornyn
- North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer
- Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo
- South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
- Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis
- Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
- Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran
- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
- South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
- South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds
- Idaho Sen. James Risch
- South Dakota Sen. John Thune
- Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey
- Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker
READ THE LETTER HERE:
“American businesses from industries such as tourism and hospitality, landscaping, fairs and carnivals, seafood processing, golf courses, reforestation, contractors and horse racing depend on seasonal employment to meet the demand across many industries. Without meaningful H-2B cap relief, many seasonal businesses will be forced to scale back operations, cancel or default on contracts, lay off full-time U.S. workers and, in some cases, close operations completely,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. (RELATED: Biden Admin Providing An Additional 22,000 H-2B Visas To Help Businesses Address Pandemic Labor Shortage)
“By taking action to release and process additional H-2B visas, seasonal businesses and U.S. workers across the country will avoid these harmful consequences and instead help contribute to the American economy,” they added. (RELATED: US Added 49,000 Jobs In January, Unemployment Rate Fell To 6.3%)
Former President Donald Trump halted the H-2B visas to try and stop rising unemployment due to COVID-19. Biden reinstated them when taking office. Trump did, however, give businesses more H-2B visas in 2017 and 2019.