washingtonpost.com - 7 days ago
Trump officials order 15,000 new visas for low-wage workers
US President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up well wishers as he arrives at the 72nd US Women's Open Golf Championship at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, July 16, 2017.
/ AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced a one-time increase of 15,000 additional visas for low-wage, seasonal workers for the remainder of this fiscal year, a seeming about-face from President Trump's "Hire American" rhetoric, following heavy lobbying from the fisheries, hospitality and other industries that rely on temporary foreign workers. The increase represents a 45 percent bump from the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, said senior Homeland Security officials in a call with reporters Monday. The visas are for workers taking seasonal jobs in the seafood, tourism and other industries -- but not farm laborers. Businesses must first attest that their firms would suffer permanent "irreparable harm" without importing foreign workers, and will be required to retain documents proving that they would not otherwise be able to meet their contractual obligations, the officials said. The officials said the government made the decision after "considering the interest of U.S. workers" and has created a tip line for reports of worker exploitation and abuse. " [Secretary John Kelly] first and foremost is committed to protecting U.S. workers and strengthening the integrity of our immigration system," one of the Homeland Security officials said. Congress paved the way to increasing the number of H-2B workers in May when it passed an omnibus budget to avoid a government shutdown.
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