The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced this past October the Biden administration would be importing nearly 65,000 additional H-2B foreign visa workers to take on nonagricultural jobs.
Already nearly 11.6 million Americans are jobless, and another 3.7 million are underemployed, stuck in part-time jobs.
Mayorkas said the proposal had been finalized Tuesday.
“The Department is making supplemental H-2B visas available earlier than ever, ensuring that American businesses can plan for their peak season labor needs,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “At a time of record job growth, these visas will also provide a safe and lawful pathway to the United States for noncitizens prepared to take jobs that are not filled by American workers.”
The H-2B visas will be awarded to 20,000 nationals from Haiti and northern central America. An additional 45,000 foreign workers who have previously held visas will also be awarded H-2B visas.
Biden’s Labor Secretary Marty Walsh laid out the plan to fill unfilled American jobs with foreign workers rather than pulling jobless Americans from the market’s sidelines.
“If those 11 million jobs had to be filled tomorrow, we certainly don’t have enough people in the United States to fill those jobs … the issue of workers has to be addressed and the only way you can do it is through immigration,” Walsh said.
Businesses can import 66,000 H-2B foreign visa workers to take on blue-collar, nonagricultural American jobs annually. Former President Donald Trump took advantage of this program, as is Biden now.
In December 2021 and January 2022, Mayorkas announced businesses could import 40,000 more H-2B foreign visa workers.
The H-2B visa program is commonly used by businesses to pull down on the wages of American workers in landscaping, conservation work, the meatpacking industry, the construction industry, and fishing jobs, according to a 2019 study by the Center for Immigration Studies.
When comparing wages, about 21 of 25 businesses offered lesser wages to foreign workers than to their American counterparts.
The U.S. annually awards green cards to about 1.2 million legal immigrants. Another 1.4 million foreign workers are admitted, taking on American jobs. Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens add to the labor market, many of whom are on work permits supplied by the federal government.
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