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Thread: Omnibus Bill Includes Increase in H-2B Visas (NumbersUSA)

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Omnibus Bill Includes Increase in H-2B Visas (NumbersUSA)

    Omnibus Bill Includes Increase in H-2B Visas


    Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 9:48 am EDT

    The House Appropriations Committee released text late Sunday night on a compromise spending bill that would allow for a doubling of the number of H-2B visas for FY2017. Congress has until Friday night to approve a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

    The H-2B visa is a low-skilled, guest worker program that is typically used by employers to fill seasonal and temporary jobs, but these are the very jobs that many Americans without a college degree rely on to make ends meet.

    The omnibus provision states that the DHS Secretary can increase the number of visas, "by not more than the highest number of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker program in any fiscal year in which returning workers were exempt from such numerical limitation." The current cap for H-2B visas is 66,000 per year, but this provision would allow for another 70,000 visas to be issued in the current fiscal year.

    In the 2016 omnibus bill Congress passed a provision that exempted any H-2B worker who had been approved for a H-2B visa in the previous three years from counting against the visa cap, quadrupling the number of H-2B visas that could be issued to 264,000. The provision was not renewed in 2017.

    In 2015 Buzzfeed released an expose on the H-2B visa and how it replaces American workers and exploits foreign workers. They released an investigative report last year on the abuses found within the H-2B program.

    Read more on this story at The Washington Post.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    (From 2015)

    House Leaders Sneak Dramatic Expansion Of Guest Worker Program Into Funding Bill

    Posted By Rachel Stoltzfoos On 3:41 PM 12/17/2015

    Congressional leaders quietly inserted a provision into the $1 trillion spending bill released late Tuesday night that would dramatically expand a guest worker program, allowing businesses to import as many as four times the current number of low-skilled guest workers.

    GOP leaders did not advertise the provision, which would effectively quadruple the issuance of low-skilled H-2B visas at a time when record numbers of Americans are not working. Previous efforts to expand the program have been highly contested, in the form of a standalone bill and as part of the notorious 2013 Gang of Eight bill that failed to pass.

    Businesses use the H-2B visa program to hire low-skilled foreign workers for temporary non-farm jobs in restaurants, hotels, resorts, even trucking companies. The measure inserted into the spending bill would exempt visas issued in 2013, 2014, or 2015 from counting against the annual cap of 66,000 visas, effectively allowing up to about a quarter million more foreign workers into the U.S. job market.

    These foreigners work in occupations including cooking, hospitality, construction and maintenance for as little as three months and many as three years on the visa.

    Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, chairman of the Senate immigration subcommittee, has said the bill will be “bad for American workers” and urged Republicans in November not to attach it to the spending bill.

    An Economics Policy Institute analysis of federal data in March found there are many more unemployed workers than job openings in many of these industries. In construction, for example, EPI found there are six unemployed workers for each job opening.

    “Flooding this loose labor market with additional low-skilled labor hurts the wages and reduces the job prospects of those who are recent immigrants and native-born who are struggling the most,” Sessions wrote in the November letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    The number of Americans participating in the job market overall is at its lowest rate since 1977 — nearly 40 percent of Americans 16 and older are not working or looking for work. And wages and share of income for the bottom 90 percent of American wage-earners declined over the past 40 years, as the foreign-born population increased dramatically, according to the Congressional Research Service.

    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 05-01-2017 at 06:57 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Donald Trump Can’t Keep His H-1B/H-2B Immigration Lies Straight Any More.

    Posted at 10:30 am on March 4, 2016 by Moe Lane

    Short version: at last night’s debate the topic of H-1B visas* came up. Last night Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump at the debate how he felt about temporary work visas now. Trump said that he loved them to death, and was softening the position found on his website.

    Somewhere out in the political wilderness, Senator Jeff Sessions (an H-1B visa restrictionist who is endorsing Trump solely because of Trump’s position on immigration, supposedly) immediately suffered a nosebleed from the psychic shock of this sudden, yet inevitable betrayal**. The Trump campaign had to go out and send around an email saying, No, really, forget that Trump said that. Please, please, please, forget that Trump said that. Also: Trump can’t tell the difference between a H-1B and a H-2B visa.

    For the longer story? Well, let’s go to the transcripts.

    KELLY: Mr. Trump, your campaign website to this day argues that more visas for highly skilled workers would, quote, “decimate American workers”. However, at the CNBC debate, you spoke enthusiastically in favor of these visas. So, which is it?

    TRUMP: I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in. But, and we do need in Silicon Valley, we absolutely have to have.

    So, we do need highly skilled, and one of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges. They’ll go to Harvard, they’ll go to Stanford, they’ll go to Wharton, as soon as they’re finished they’ll get shoved out. They want to stay in this country. They want to stay here desperately, they’re not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country.

    KELLY: So you abandoning the position on your website…

    TRUMP: … I’m changing it, and I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.

    If you’re taking a strong stance on ending or at least cutting back the H-1B program – like, say, Mark Krikorian of National Review, or Michelle Malkin – this position is appalling. I want to be really careful right now, because I am of course a pro-immigration squish; but if I understand Mark Krikorian’s position here he feels that Trump is simply talking tough about immigration to please his own base, and is using the H-1B issue to signal to hypothetical*** general election donors that Trump’s not actually really into all this immigration hawk stuff. Which last part I’ll agree with, for reasons that I’ll get into later.

    At any rate, Trump’s long-suffering official He Didn’t Mean It Squad had to play cleanup again:

    Megyn Kelly asked about highly-skilled immigration. The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration…

    – And we’ll stop there because when there are two flat-out lies in the first two sentences of your press release, there’s no point to keep going, is there? Look at the transcript again. Megyn Kelly didn’t ask about immigration. She asked about work visas. As for the high-skilled part – look, H-1B visas are for people with college degrees. One of the major criticisms of the H-1B program is that it supposedly takes away STEM jobs from Americans with equivalent skills.
    Which means that the aforementioned press release shows that neither Donald Trump nor his staff knows the difference between a H-1B visa and a H-2B visa. You see, H-2B visas are for low-skill temporary work. And Donald Trump knows this, certainly, because he still uses them all the time for his hotels. Including, interestingly, in Florida. And why does Trump use H-2B visas? Well, let’s go to the transcript yet again, because Marco Rubio was able to explain the entire thing succinctly:

    RUBIO: … And, here’s why he does it this way, let me explain why he (INAUDIBLE) H2-B…

    TRUMP: … Wrong…

    RUBIO: … Because when you bring them in this way, when you bring someone in on one of these visas they can’t go work for anybody else. They either work for you or they have to go back home. You basically have them captive, so you don’t have to worry about competing for higher wages with another hotel down the street. And, that’s why you bring workers from abroad.

    Note that Marco Rubio knows exactly what a H-2B visa is. And why Donald Trump uses them (because H-1Bs and H-2Bs give companies a lot of leverage over the foreigners that they’ve hired). And this is part and parcel of the reason why some immigration hawks are a little steamed right now at Trump. Nobody likes being flat-out lied to, particularly when it’s being done in this contemptuous a fashion.

    And if Trump is lying about this, it’s for certain that he’s lying about building a wall. Which you hopefully already knew, anyway. If you didn’t, well… he’s not building a wall.
    Moe Lane

    *For those who are not familiar with them – lucky, lucky you – H-1B visas are work visas issued to non-immigrants in specific occupations. These visas are tied to a specific job and employer, and their existence and use are a… definite part of our current robust and vigorous debate over immigration policy.

    **Not really. I’m sure that he felt suddenly sick and confused, though.
    ***A bit more hypothetical now than before the debate, might I add. And the Trump campaign agrees with me, given how quickly they leaped to smother the fire with their own bodies.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  4. #4
    MW is offline
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    I'm sure Rep. Ryan is responsible for this. He has pushed for increasing the H-2B cap in the past. Of course I wouldn't be surprised to find out he got Trump to sign off on it.


    Ryan’s December 2015 language expanded the visa program by saying that foreign H-2B workers would not count towards the annual 66,000 limit if they had worked for a H-2B employer during the prior three years. In effect, the “returning worker exemption” covertly quadrupled the size of the H-2B program from 66,000 visas per year up to 264,000 visas per year. That is an increase of up to 198,000 outsourcing visas each year.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Senate Judiciary Leaders Slam Paul Ryan's H-2B Visa Expansion
    Judy and MW like this.
    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Cheap foreign labor to flood workforce after spending bill doubles number of visas

    A provision in the spending bill would let the Trump administration raise the cap from 66,000 foreign workers to more than 135,000. (Associated Press/File) more >

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2017

    Congress tucked a sweetheart deal for America's vacation resorts and other seasonal employers into the massive spending bill announced Monday, paving the way for the administration to more than double the number of temporary visas to foreign workers this year and “flooding the labor force” with cheap competition for jobs.

    Lawmakers also agreed to make the first down payment on President Trump’s deportation force but stymied most of the rest of his immigration plans in the 2017 spending bill, including denying him any money to begin building his signature border wall.

    Those moves had been telegraphed before, but the boost in H-2B visas was a surprise to analysts and drew immediate condemnation from Trump backers, who said Congress was undermining the president’s vow to protect American workers from foreign competitors.

    NumbersUSA said the provision would let the Trump administration raise the cap from 66,000 foreign workers to more than 135,000.

    “It is a sellout [of] the American worker,” said Bob Dane, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

    The top senators on the Judiciary Committee said the bill breaks the rules of Congress. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa
    Republican, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said their committee is supposed to be in charge of immigration policy.

    “We understand the needs of employers who rely on seasonal H-2B workers if the American workforce can’t meet the demand, but we are also aware of the potential side effects of flooding the labor force with more temporary foreign workers, including depressed wages for all workers in seasonal jobs,” the two senators said.

    They asked their colleagues to delete the provision from the bill, which was released early Monday and must be voted on this week.

    All told, the bill details more than $1 trillion in spending for fiscal year 2017, which runs through Sept. 30. At about 3,000 pages, the bill and its accompanying reports cover most of the basic operations of government.

    But immigration proved to be an outsized sticking point. Democrats were intent on using the bill to prove they could deny Mr. Trump any financial assistance for his crackdown plans.

    Mr. Trump had gone into the negotiations asking for a $1 billion down payment on his proposed border wall and for early money for his boost in Border Patrol and interior enforcement agents, while congressional Republicans sought to punish sanctuary cities.

    The president got funding for 100 deportation officers, Republicans said, but no wall money or sanctions on sanctuaries.

    Congress did include money to maintain an average of 39,000 detention beds a day. As of April 22, nearly seven months into the fiscal year, the Homeland Security Department was running ahead of that target, averaging 40,160 people per night.

    That is a large increase over last year, when the average population was 34,376.

    Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was getting $379 million more than President Obama had budgeted, giving the new administration an opening.

    “That is going to be very helpful to the Trump administration in carrying out the enforcement agenda and the executive orders in particular,” she said.

    Immigrant rights advocates balked at the implications of the increase.

    “I will probably not be able to vote for another additional $1.2 billion to deport more immigrants,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat. “I cannot look families in my district in the eye and say I support more deportations, because I do not.”

    Frank Sharry, executive director at America's Voice, a leading immigrant advocacy group, said it could have been worse.

    “The bottom line is that Republicans got more money, Democrats limited the amount and limited the damage that money will do,” he said. “What it means to us is that the stage is set for a much bigger and more consequential battle over the 2018 budget.”

    Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said Mr. Trump won’t have any better luck getting money for a border wall the next go-around. He said seven or eight Republican senators approached him to say they, too, opposed the border wall.

    Mr. Schumer said lawmakers have concluded that a wall wouldn’t do much to combat the flow of illegal drugs, which he said are increasingly being flown over, boated around or tunneled underneath the border.

    A report Monday by the Government Accountability Office said authorities discovered 67 smuggling tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border from 2011 to 2016. Almost all of the tunnels classified as sophisticated operations that had interconnected routes capable of shipping significant amounts of drugs.

    The rate of tunnel detections has dropped during that time, though officials did record a spike last year, the GAO said. Smuggling attempts by ultralight aircraft and by personal boats have also declined in the past few years, the investigators said.

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