The U.S. government is allowing 15,000 additional visas for temporary seasonal workers to help American businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm because of a shortage of such labor, the Department of Homeland Security said on Monday.
A federal law caps the number available at 66,000 a year nationwide, but Congress gave DHS the power to authorize more, after consulting with the Labor Department and determining that companies would be significantly harmed if they weren't able to bring in foreign workers for the season.
Mr Kelly said that Congress has given him "discretional authority to provide temporary relief" for American businesses that are going to suffer without seasonal workers.
Since 2015, however, some returning workers were able to participate beyond the cap, increasing the number of H-2B visas issued past year to almost 85,000, according to State Department data. "So we do think that fits into the American-first focus of the administration".
Donald Trump has authorised the addition of 15,000 seasonal worker visas during what the White House has billed as "Made in America" week. The cap was met on March 13 this year.
"This is yet another example of the administration and Congress failing to keep the Trump campaign promise of putting American workers first", he said.
DHS Secretary John Kelly speaks at a press conference in June 2017 as Rep. Paul Ryan looks
"It's not that Americans don't want work, it's that Americans don't want these jobs because they're back-breaking hard work", Bishop said.
The Trump Organization is among the businesses that use the visas.
"For every senator or congressman who has your view, I have another who says, 'Don't you dare".
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.
But Daniel Costa, who directs immigration research at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said that the H2B program lacks enough enforcement to make sure American workers can benefit. And the seafood industry, which began its hiring season in April, competes with other industries, such as landscaping and tourism, that rely heavily on temporary summer workers. "That doesn't mean there aren't some shortages in some places, but there need to be rules in place to ensure that a fair wage is being offered to American workers first".
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