Doubling H-2B Visas is Double Trouble for America and Its Workers
Paving wider pathways for migrants to enter the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security is sharply increasing the allotment of foreign workers via the seasonal H-2B visa program. With this expansion, the Biden administration is literally doubling down on fraud.
By adding 64,716 H-2B visas on top of the 66,000 already allowed by law, DHS says it hopes to reduce the flow of illegal aliens into the country. In reality, DHS is opening the door to new waves of fraud that have long plagued the H-2B program.
Industries employing the majority of H-2B visa holders accounted for nearly $1.8 billion in wage and hour violations over the past two decades, exploiting migrants and U.S. citizens who work beside them, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
EPI pointed to more than 180,000 violations between fiscal 2000 and 2021 across seven industries: amusement (carnivals and circuses), construction, food service, forestry, hotels/motels, janitorial services and landscaping services. In all, more than 1.6 million employees were cheated out of wages.
If the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division were to thoroughly investigate H-2B fraud cases, EPI estimates that chances of uncovering violations would run at 80 percent. “H-2B workers are being recruited into industries where they will be vulnerable, but no new measures have been implemented by the Biden administration to better protect them,” EPI concluded.
Administration lawyers showed their true colors recently when they filed a court motion to shut down any judicial review of the H-2B program’s prevailing wage certification. Instead of showing any concern or even curiosity about wage deflation caused by H-2B foreign labor, Biden’s team is fighting tooth and nail to protect bottom-feeding employers who exploit imported labor.
“[America] seeks to use foreign workers to produce products and services cheaply. The catch is that foreign workers are only a benefit in this model if they are abused. Meanwhile, American workers are forced to accept abuse or unemployment,” says Jared Culver, a legal analyst for NumbersUSA.
Amidst chronic corporate whining about purported shortages of workers, FAIR reported last week that layoffs are rising across all sectors of the U.S. economy, and that 9.9 million immigrants of working age are now unemployed or not in the workforce at all. With signs of recession mounting, the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up again in October.
Unfazed by ongoing fraud and H-2B’s wage-depressing effects, Mayorkas’ move brings another downside by earmarking 20,000 of the work visas for migrants from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. That roughly one of every five Guatemalans already overstay their visas signals one more way in which a Biden-style “legal” gambit adds to illegal immigration.