Republican leaders included the expansion of the H-2B visa worker program in their spending bill, allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase the number of imported foreign workers to roughly 100,000, Breitbart reports.
The current caps are at 66,000.
Passage would allow businesses — especially landscaping and construction companies, resorts and hotels e.g. — to keep wages low during seasonal times. Otherwise, they'd have to raise the wages on seasonal jobs to entice Americans to take them, Breitbart reports.
The expansion allows lawmakers to pressure DHS to allow more foreign workers into the country to help out business leaders in their district.
"This shows that Congress uses the budget process to grant special access to insider lobbyists," lawyer John Miano, who opposes visa-worker programs, told Breitbart. "By granting the ability to slip special interest provisions into a bill that must pass Congress, it rewards those who supply donations."
The provision is found on page 1,760 of the omnibus spending bill released by Congress Wednesday night.
"… The Secretary of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Secretary of Labor, and upon the determination that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal year 2018 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor, may increase the total number of aliens who may receive a visa … in such fiscal year above such limitation by not more than the highest number of H–2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H–2B returning worker program in any fiscal year in which returning workers were exempt from such numerical limitation."
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