Trump Administration's Guest Worker Boost Comes Too Late, Some Small Businesses Say

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18 July, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security will up the amount of visas for seasonal workers by 15,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year, The Daily Caller reports.

To qualify for the additional visas, petitioners must attest, under penalty of perjury, that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if it can not employ H-2B nonimmigrant workers during fiscal year 2017. Pressed by a reporter about how the policy announcement to allow more foreign workers into the USA supports American jobs, a DHS spokesperson said that without those extra workers, US businesses could suffer "irreparable harm".

After consulting with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly found there were not enough qualified and willing American workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural work, the department said in a statement.

According to NBC, in 2016, the federal government allowed 13,382 additional visas to meet seasonal demand. The cap has already been reached this year.

Holiday vacation destinations around the USA, including President Donald Trump's own Mar-a-Lago country club in Florida, depend on tens of thousands of temporary workers in the summer and winter, many of them young people from eastern Europe and Asia.

In order to obtain one of these additional worker visas, petitioners must show that their business is facing irreversible damage if they can not hire H-2B workers during the fiscal year of 2017.

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The Trump Organization is among the businesses that use the visas.

The Trump Administration says it has a problem with such immigrants and is now determined to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations.

Still, senior DHS officials insisted the policy fits Trumps self-styled "America First" agenda because it will help American businesses.

"We're talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don't get additional H-2B workers", the official said.

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. "That doesn't mean there aren't some shortages in some places, but there need to be rules in place to ensure that a fair wage is being offered to American workers first".

Trump said he has relied on the program in the past to find workers for his golf courses and hotels.

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