A South Dakota construction company imported foreign workers on the H-2B visa program in order to cut costs and pay lower wages, Labor Department officials say.
Every year, U.S. companies are allowed to import 66,000 low-skilled H-2B foreign workers to take blue-collar, non-agricultural jobs. For some time, the H-2B visa program has been used by businesses to bring in cheaper foreign workers and has contributed to blue-collar Americans having their wages undercut.
Dagel Steel Construction, based in Florence, South Dakota, violated federal law by recruiting H-2B foreign workers from South Africa and Mexico to take jobs in the United States only to pay them below-market wages, according to the Labor Department.
The construction company paid H-2B foreign workers low wages, assigned them to work in locations not authorized by the Labor Department, to ork jobs outside of the workers’ job descriptions, as well as failing to pay for the workers’ housing costs, visa fees, transportation costs. The company deducted money from the workers’ already low wages.
Labor Department official Betty Campbell said in a statement:
The U.S. Department of Labor sought debarment of Dagel Steel Construction because the employer failed to comply with well-documented requirements of the H-2B Visa Program. The employer’s obligations are clearly detailed during the process of seeking certification to hire temporary foreign laborers.
Now, Dagel Steel Construction will be banned from importing foreign workers through the various H visa programs for five years and must pay nearly $70,000 in back wages to 16 H-2B foreign workers. The company also must pay more than $30,000 in civil penalties.
For nearly three years, President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has routinely expanded the number of H-2B foreign workers that businesses are allowed to import to take blue-collar U.S. jobs. In May, for example, Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan approved an additional 30,000 H-2B foreign workers for businesses to import.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.