(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) The Center for Immigration Studies has released a new interactive map that depicts where immigrants with jobs thanks to H-2B visas are, compared to unemployed Americans.
On its Web site the Center claims that “U.S. companies are hiring H-2B guest workers in large numbers for jobs even in areas of high unemployment and with low labor force participation.”
H-2Bs are three-year visas for “seasonal or temporary non-agricultural work,” work like “landscapers, lifeguards, carnival workers, factory workers, cooks, maids and fishery workers,” but also, work like “engineers, tax preparers, soccer coaches and occupational therapists.”
CIS produced three different maps based on their analysis of H-2B visa data, and show different aspects of visas and business throughout the United States. The first map “shows the extent to which employers are hiring H-2B workers in individual states,” the second map “shows the specific city or towns in which the H-2B jobs were authorized,” and the third “shows the corporate locations of employers who were approved for 150 H-2B workers or more and the location of the H-2B jobs paying $25 an hour or more.”
All three maps are available on the CIS website.
“The H-2B program was sold to Congress as a way to help employers fill short-term labor shortages of unskilled workers to do jobs that could not be filled by U.S. workers,” said Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
“As has been the case in all guest worker programs, now a lucrative recruiting industry has become established that profits from the placement of foreign guest workers with employers who have become addicted to the workers year after year, and who are now a permanent fixture – even in areas with many available U.S. workers, especially many young workers,” she continued. “And these are not necessarily low-paying jobs, but they are effectively off-limits to U.S. workers.”
The Center for Immigration Studies argues that jobs like those fulfilled by H-2B workers “are not unskilled and not so exotic that no Americans can be found to fill [them]. These cases suggest that the level of scrutiny for visa approval is inadequate and that employers may be using the program as a way around the rules of other guest worker programs.”
One H-2B worker was paid as $68.45 an hour with no education required, and some of the biggest employers of H-2B visa holders are Silver Bay Seafoods in Alaska, with 971 workers. Another is Faith Forestry Service in Mississippi with 704 workers, according to CIS.
The Center also claims that over 90 percent of visa holders are from 5 countries: Mexico, Jamaica, Guatemala, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is blocking President Trump’s pick for the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in an attempt “to pressure Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to bend to the senator’s will and quickly approve thousands of H-2B visas,” the Washington Times reported.
He wants to add another 70,000 visas to the current 66,000, according to the same report. Tillis argues that his constituents rely on the aid of H-2B visa holders to help keep their businesses afloat.
Vaughan disagrees and is calling for greater scrutiny of the H-2B visa program.
“The government’s own data shows that the responsible agencies have some work to do to ensure that this program is not abused and that it is not shutting out U.S. workers from opportunities,” she said in Wednesday’s press release.
“At the same time, members of Congress need to think about how this program may be working to foster employer dependency on these workers, and whether that may be disadvantaging U.S. workers, and especially American youths,” she declares. “Why is the government allowing employers to bring in tens of thousands of unskilled workers when there are millions of people already here who can do this work?”