Contrary to campaign promises that American workers would be given priority for American jobs, the Trump administration has indicated that it will make 15,000 more H-2B visas available for the rest of the fiscal year. Sources say the visas will be primarily for low-wage, seasonal workers, including employees in the hotel, restaurant and resort business. It has been reported that the Trump Organization, which employs low-paid foreign workers in its Mar-a-Lago resort, among other places, has used the H-2B visas frequently in the past.
Under normal circumstances, the United States issues approximately 65,000 visas per year, with visas granted every six months.
Just four months ago, the president demanded that immigration officials reform the H-1B visa program, saying that it was being used by multinational corporations to boost profits by importing cheap foreign labor, instead of paying the wages to American workers. Many in business challenged that assertion, saying that it was more often used to bring in highly educated foreign workers for technology positions that Americans could not fill.
Though a few advocates of restrictive immigration policies saw the announcement as reneging on a campaign promise, officials at the Department of Homeland Security say the decision to increase the number of H-2B visas is absolutely essential, as some American businesses may go out of business if they can’t find qualified foreign workers. That message was echoed by Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC, who noted that “the H2-B program is vital for businesses that desperately need some temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed.”
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