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Trump Annoys Immigrant-Labor Critics With Latest Move

The White House supports move to loosen H-2B visa restrictions
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2019 3:55 PM CDT
Juan Herrera of Singing Hill Landscape moves mulch around as he works on a park at the Riverdale Dunes community on March 7, 2018 in Commerce City, Colorado.   (John Leyba/The Denver Post via AP)

(Newser) – In one border battle, the restriction side has lost. President Trump is moving ahead with a plan to let 30,000 extra seasonal workers come back to America this summer, the Wall Street Journal reports. The US usually allows 66,000 H-2B visa workers to enter annually (33,000 in winter, 33,000 in summer) to take lower-skilled jobs with employers like holiday resorts, fisheries, county fairs, and landscaping companies; half of them went to horticultural and agricultural jobs in 2017. But that number will now hit 96,000 as the Trump administration sides with US business allies over immigration restrictionists. That pits the White House against the group NumbersUSA, which created a new TV ad campaign in April criticizing higher immigration limits.

"The ad is responding to a number of developments in which businesses are receiving or demanding more work visas so they don’t have to recruit from the millions of Americans [who] are not in the labor market at all," says Roy Beck, who heads NumbersUSA. "The H-2B increases are one of those troubling developments." The issue has divided lawmakers and political parties, with two bipartisan groups of senators releasing letters on each side of the argument. "The states we represent lack the working-age population needed to meet the demands for seasonal jobs,” writes one group, which says the extra visas "will provide much-needed relief." Government data shows that roughly 80% of H-2B visas went to people from Central America and Mexico in 2018, the Washington Post reports. (One Mar-a-Lago worker who worked an H-2B visa is now behind bars.)

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