Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

H-2B Visas Are Killing Jobs for Americans

Like the better-known visas issued to college-educated technical workers, H-2B visas for temporary blue-collar jobs are supposed to be issued only if and when “unemployed workers capable of performing the relevant service or labor cannot be found” anywhere in the United States. That limitation is easily circumvented by employers, whose task is made easier by another provision on page 888 of the Omnibus: “In the determination of prevailing wage for the purposes of the H-2B program, the Secretary shall accept private wage surveys” in lieu of official ones.

The H-2B language looks like a special-interest provision that must have been written and inserted by high-priced lobbyists, so you’d think members of Congress would have enough shame to deny knowledge and disclaim responsibility for how it got into the bill. On the contrary, House leaders have issued statements, written letters, and given interviews trying to defend the indefensible.

While the labor participation rate keeps falling to new lows every month, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise thinks America has a “worker shortage” forcing “many small and seasonal businesses.” House Speaker Paul Ryan lashed back at critics for “making a mountain out of a molehill” over a provision that he says would bring “only about 8,000 additional workers.” However, a 410-page report issued in April by USCIS, the agency in charge of H-2B visas, predicted that 115,500 additional visas would be issued under the revised language.

Paul Ryan is a true believer in the idea that, as he wrote in 2013, “Immigration helps us get the labor force that we need so that we can have the kind of growth we want.” But economists have shown that virtually all of the economic “growth” from immigration is captured by the immigrants themselves, leaving no net benefit to American citizens already here.

Guest Worker programs have become a racket that should be terminated. Listen to the radio commentary here:

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