Congress Stimulates Blue-Collar Visas, ‘Mixed-Status’ Households
Two provisions in the $900 billion stimulus package are of particular interest – and benefit – to selected groups of foreign workers and illegal aliens.
The first allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor Department to issue more H-2B blue-collar visas. This foreign-labor program has been widely used by businesses to drag down wages of American workers in landscaping, conservation work, meatpacking, construction and fishing jobs, among others, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
Comparing wages of H-2Bforeign workers to the national average in 25 blue-collar sectors, CIS foundthat 21 offered lower pay to foreign workers than Americans.
DHS secretaries over the lastfour years have repeatedly allowed businesses to import more H-2B workers abovethe annual cap of 66,000. Coming at a time when 24.5 million Americans areunemployed or underemployed, Congress’ stimulus is hardly a boon for U.S.workers.
The second provision enables “mixed status” households with illegal aliens to receive stimulus checks they were denied under the first round last spring.
U.S. citizens and green cardholders will be eligible for $600 in direct aid, even if they filed a joint taxreturn with an undocumented spouse, as well as additional $600 checks perdependent child. The stimulus bill also retroactively makes mixed-statusfamilies with one Social Security number-holder eligible for the $1,200 perhousehold and $500 per child checks allocated by the CARES Act in March.
Illegal aliens or othernon-citizens who do not have Social Security numbers and file individual taxreturns would remain ineligible for stimulus checks, as would U.S. citizenchildren without a parent with a Social Security number.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are 1.4 million spouses and 3.7 million children in mixed-status families who are U.S. citizens or have legal status.