DHS Chad Wolf: No Extra H-2B Workers as Agency Protects Blue-Collar Jobs

SAN RAFAEL, CA - MAY 23: Illegal immigrants Misael Amrocio (L) and Jose Augustine, both of Guatemala, layout a flagstone patio while working on a landscaping job May 23, 2007 in San Rafael, California. Both Misael and Jose came to the United States from Guatemala and are currently living and …
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The federal government will not provide companies with extra H-2B visa workers this year, homeland security chief Chad Wolf told Breitbart News.

The decision is good news for blue-collar Americans, who have lost millions of jobs amid the coronavirus crash, and it comes despite pressure from many companies for easy access to compliant foreign labor.

The decision comes as the migration of blue-collar workers across the Mexican border slows to a trickle, mostly because of President Donald Trump’s forceful diplomatic and regulatory policies. 

“We do not expect to increase the [66,000] cap given the pandemic and the unemployment,” the Acting Secretary told Breitbart News.

In the 2020 federal budget, Congress allowed and prodded agency officials to accept a supplemental army of roughly 35,0000 H-2B workers in 2020. But “we don’t anticipate having any supplemental increase in H-2Bs this year,” he said.

However, agency officials will make it easier for some H-2B workers already in the United States to transfer into the seafood industry in Maryland, Alaska, Maine, and Virginia, he added. “We are trying to identify [H-2B] workers who are already here and providing some flexibility,” he said. 

At the border, Wolf said, blue-collar migration has fallen so fast that the agency’s holding centers are nearly empty.

“We are seeing 80 percent of folks are being turned around [back to Mexico] in two hours, and that is having a huge effect on our custody numbers,” Wolf said. In Tuscon, Ariz., for example, only about 15 migrants are being held in the temporary holding centers, down from roughly 650 in 2019, he said. 

“That doesn’t happen by chance or luck – it happens because of the President’s leadership on this issue and because of the hard work of men and women in the border patrol,” he said. 

Construction of the border wall should reach 200 miles in early June, he added.

Trump’s jobs-for-Americans policy is very popular, according to multiple polls.

Wolf’s statement about the H-2B workers comes as officials consider additional curbs on the federal government’s diverse array of visa worker programs which legally keep roughly 1.5 million foreign workers in the United States, and accept at least 400,000 seasonal workers.

On April 22, President Donald Trump told the agencies to review the existing programs.

“We’re looking at all categories,” he told Breitbart News. The goal is to ensure that “Americana have access to the job market as the economy opens up.”

The agency is reviewing the TN, the J-1, the B-1, and the H-1B programs, he said.

The H-1B program keeps roughly 900,000 white-collar workers in the United States, nearly all of whom displaced American graduates.

The B-1 program is little understood, but there is growing evidence that it masks hundreds of thousands of smuggled blue-collar and white-collar foreign workers. 

The J-1 program provides summer employers — such as beach vendors, hotels, and Disney — with a flood of at least 100,000 foreign workers. 

The agencies are considering “how do we alleviate and free up Americans’ jobs for Americans that have been laid off, to make sure they have access to the economy as it opens back up,” Wolf said. 

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