According to DHS spokesman David Lapan, DHS Secretary John Kelly will use the authority granted by Congress to increase the number of H-2B visas beyond the cap limit. Lapan said that the number of additional visas is still being decided but should be set soon.
In the latest omnibus spending bill, Congress granted authority to DHS to more than double the number of H-2B visas for 2017. The provision granted Kelly the ability to approve 70,000 additional H-2B visas over the current cap of 66,000.
Since then Secretary Kelly has been waffling about the decision to increase the visas or not. In May, Kelly said he was thinking of increasing the visas. However, during the DHS budget hearing earlier this month he seemed to back track noting that the Trump administration was focused on putting American workers first.
NumbersUSA and a bi-partisan group of senators sent letters to Kelly before the budget hearing asking him not authorize the increase.
NumbersUSA’s Government Relations Director Rosemary Jenks issued the following statement about the possible increase:
NumbersUSA hopes that reports indicating that DHS Secretary Kelly will increase the number of H-2B visas for FY 2017 are untrue.
Such an increase would fly in the face of both President Trump's campaign promise to ensure that immigration policies do not harm American workers, as well as his Hire American Executive Order.
It would be unconscionable to increase the cap on H-2Bs while wages in H-2B occupations are stagnant or declining and millions of working-age Americans have dropped out of the labor market.
Read more on this story at ABCnews.com.
Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 3:19pm EDT