H2-B Workforce Coalition asks Trump to allow immigrant workers
Hundreds of employers of seasonal immigrant workers in hotels, forestry, landscaping and other fields wrote President Donald Trump on Friday asking him “to allow for the continued, uninterrupted operation of the H-2B program,” even though Trump has issued a presidential proclamation that most immigrants should be kept out so that Americans have the first preference for jobs.
The letter was from the H2-B Workforce Coalition, a group representing employers of what the government considers nonagricultural jobs but which includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Hort and the American Sugar Cane League.
The group wrote that they “completely agree” with Trump “that able and willing Americans should be provided preference and priority for job openings before H-2B workers are considered,” but they argued that this “is the structure already required by the rigorous visa program regulations.”
“Under the Department of Labor’s temporary labor certification process, employers resorting to H-2B workers are required to publicize and pay a prevailing wage established by DOL, which is well above the federal minimum wage, and must hire any qualified American applicants,” the letter said.
They noted that, according to a recent nationwide Washington Post-Ipsos poll, nearly 80% of laid-off workers expect to be rehired by their previous employer once state stay-at-home orders are lifted, and that a General Accountability Office report released just last month analyzed DHS and DOL data and concluded that “counties with H-2B employers generally had lower unemployment rates and higher average weekly wages than counties that do not have any H-2B employers.”
They also said the H-2B program protects the jobs of the full-time, year-round American workers, who rely on the immigrant workers to sustain their jobs, saying that every H-2B worker supports 4.64 American jobs.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.