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18 July 2017, 12:31 | Katrina Lee
Though President Donald Trump has taken a hard line stance on immigration, legal and otherwise, Kelly said the decision to add visas was a "demonstration of the administration's commitment to supporting American businesses". The cancellation earlier this year of a provision that had exempted returning workers from being included in that cap had worsened the shortage.
Congress allowed the administration to increase the number of H-2B visas in a compromise spending bill passed in May and the new joint rule the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security have put forward will be published in the federal register later this week, according to senior DHS officials.
After consulting with the Dept. of Labor, it was determined that companies would be "significantly harmed" if they weren't able to bring in foreign workers for the season. In May, Congress gave the Trump administration the authority to increase the number "upon determination that the needs of American businesses can not be satisfied in fiscal year 2017 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor", the bill said. "So we do think that fits into the American-first focus of the administration".
The Trump administration announced on Monday an increase in seasonal worker visas that USA resorts depend on, but the move halfway through the summer is unlikely to alleviate a nationwide shortage.
According to NBC, in 2016, the federal government allowed 13,382 additional visas to meet seasonal demand.
Some 66,000 "H-2B" visas were allocated for this summer, and resorts from ME to Florida along the USA east coast have complained they don't have enough.
DHS Secretary John Kelly speaks at a press conference in June 2017 as Rep. Paul Ryan looks
"A lot of the arguments for this kind of program boil down to this: No American worker will do that job".
"I've hired in Florida during the prime season - you could not get help", Trump said during a 2015 primary debate.
Trump has previously opposed allowing guest workers in the United States, though his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., has used H-2B seasonal employees.
"If the wage is decent and the employer obeys the law, Americans will do the job".
Advocates also say that foreign guest workers often experience sub-standard working conditions that are harmful to their health.
"As President Trump has noted, the H-2B program is vital for businesses that desperately need temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed". And the seafood industry, which began its hiring season in April, competes with other industries, such as landscaping and tourism, that rely heavily on temporary summer workers.
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