Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will allow U.S. companies to import an additional 15,000 low-skilled foreign workers to compete with working-class Americans through the H-2B visa program.
Every year, the U.S. companies are allowed to import 66,000 low-skilled H-2B foreign workers to take blue-collar, nonagricultural jobs. The H-2B visa program is used by businesses to bring in cheaper, foreign workers and has contributed to Americans having their wages undercut.
After staunch lobbying from the big business lobby and business-first Republican lawmakers, Nielsen announced the decision in a statement, justifying the importation of more foreign workers as a necessity in order to help businesses that are “at risk of failing.”
The limitations on H-2B visas were originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a situation where the program unintentionally harms American businesses it needs to be reformed.
I call on Congress to pass much needed reforms of the program and to expressly set the number of H-2B visas in statute. We are once again in a situation where Congress has passed the buck and turned a decision over to DHS that would be better situated with Congress, who knows the needs of the program.
As Secretary, I remain committed to protecting U.S. workers and strengthening the integrity of our lawful immigration system and look forward to working with Congress to do so.
Nielsen’s ability to expand the H-2B program is a gift to business provided in the 2018 omnibus by retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The 2018 omnibus — like the 2017 omnibus — did not require legislators to vote for expanding the unpopular program. Instead, it allowed DHS to raise the caps.
The decision to bring more low-skilled foreign workers to the U.S. undermines President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. This is now the second consecutive year that DHS has caved to the big business lobby and allowed 15,000 foreign workers to take U.S. jobs.
Though the business community — with the help of the establishment media — has relentlessly warned of so-called “labor shortages,” wage data analyzed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and the Economic Policy Institute crushes these claims.
For example, data has shown that wages for Americans have actually declined in the majority of H-2B visa occupations. Researchers say the H-2B visa program allows businesses to keep a steady stream of cheap, foreign workers in order to avoid raising U.S. wages and recruiting Americans for the blue-collar jobs.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.