DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen told a House panel on Wednesday that she intends to increase the limit on H-2B visas over the existing annual cap of 66,000. Nielsen told Members of a House Appropriations Subcommittee that she and Labor Sec. Alex Acosta will discuss a timeline by the end of this week.
"The concept of limitations on H-2B [visas] originally were to protect American workers," she told the subcommittee. "If, however, we are in a situation where the way in which we administer the program, legally, actually puts American businesses out of business, that clearly is not the intent."
"The intent is to make a decision soon so that those who can take advantage of the [H-2B] program are able to do that," Sec. Nielsen said.
The meeting comes after the passing of the 2018 omnibus spending bill, which included a provision to allow DHS to increase the number of H-2B visas above the 66,000 cap.
While Congress passed the decision to increase H-2B visas to DHS and Sec. Nielsen, she did tell Congress that it should be making those determinations in the future.
"My request is that we work together this next year. Congress, really, in my opinion, is best situated, given your constituencies and your understanding of the employers in your districts, to know the right number of H-2B [visas]. Very difficult when the discretion gets kicked back to the Secretary of Homeland Security," Sec. Nielsen said.
Nielsen is not the first to receive pressure from Congress on this issue. In July 2017, White House Chief of Staff and former DHS Secretary, John Kelly, decided to make a "one-time increase" of 15,000 to the cap on H-2B visas after Congress added the same provision to the 2017 spending bill.
For more on this story, see Breitbart.
Updated: Fri, Apr 13th 2018 @ 11:51am EDT