While more than 33 million Americans file for unemployment due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is issuing a new rule allowing foreign workers on expiring H-2B visas to stay in the United States to take blue-collar jobs.
Every year, U.S. employers are allowed to import 66,000 low-skilled H-2B foreign visa workers to take nonagricultural, seasonal 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.
On Thursday, DHS issued a new rule at the behest of the business lobby that allows U.S. employers to keep foreign workers with expiring H-2B visas in the country to take American jobs.
Under standard guidelines, H-2B foreign visa workers would have to return to their native countries for at least three months before applying for another H-2B visa.
The new rule, though, will allow foreign workers with expiring H-2B visas to stay in the U.S. so long as they are hired by eligible employers to take American jobs. Employers will also be allowed to rehire their existing H-2B foreign visa workers without those workers having to ever return to their native countries. The rule, according to Roll Call, will last through May 15, 2023.
This is the second time in the midst of mass unemployment that DHS, the State Department, and the Agriculture Department have pushed to keep foreign visa workers in the U.S. to take American jobs.
In late March, as Breitbart News reported, the three federal agencies joined forces to fast-track H-2B foreign visa workers and H-2A foreign farm workers into the U.S. by issuing a series of visa waivers. The policy is similar to that of former President George W. Bush’s waivers issued after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
DHS officials have previously confirmed that newly arriving foreign workers on the H-2B and H-2A visa programs are not being tested for the coronavirus. Only those exhibiting symptoms upon their arrival are tested for the virus.
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order halting the issuance of some employment-based green card categories. The categories account for less than ten percent of all legal immigration to the U.S., where about 1.2 million green cards are given to foreign nationals and another million visas are issued to foreign workers annually.
Now, GOP lawmakers like Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Josh Hawley, as well as Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Lance Gooden (R-TX) are urging Trump to expand the order to halt foreign visa worker programs while unemployment of Americans is expected to climb beyond 33 million.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.